Just after we talked about the great Herb Reed, fabulous bass player and founding member of the Platters (in previous post) we came upon too long a list of other rock and roll greats and important people who have recently left us. Most of the basic information comes to us from the excellent ‘Cashbox Canada’. Using this as a basis, our goal here  is to add to the reviews with music and videos in our effort to help keep these artists alive. Lucky for us, music lives on through the magic media of records, CDs, radio and now video. So, just think of these artists as on tour and enjoy the marvelous sounds they have left us until we see them again. Check back early and often to ‘Remembering’ page above for recent updates.

But first, let’s look back at a couple of artists, not know as rock and roll artists as  much as fine actors who made that common  plunge into rock and rol for a record or twol, first Lori Martin, of National Velvet fame (TV 1960-62) and Don Grady of My Three Sons 

written by Don Brady


R.B. Greaves (Take A Letter Maria) Dies of Cancer
Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 10/12/2012 – 12:54 News Rock & Roll Heaven

Submitted by Sandy Graham

R. B. Greaves, a pop singer whose “Take a Letter, Maria” was a 1969 hit, has died in Los Angeles. He was 68 and was the nephew of the legendary R&B singer, Sam Cooke. Greaves died of prostate cancer on Sept. 27 at his home, said Craig Harvey, Los Angeles County coroner’s chief of operations.

Ronald Bertram Aloysius Greaves III, was born on 28 November 1944, on a U.S. Air Force Base in Georgetown, (the former British) Guyana.Living in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, he recorded several soul singles as Sonny Childe, but it was after moving to the United States that he scored his biggest hit as R.B. Greaves and the hit ‘Take A Letter Maria.”

There are many other songs about infidelity hitting the top of the charts with “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel in 1968; “Me And Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul in 1972; “Torn Between Two Lovers” by Mary MacGregor in 1977, and a personal favourite of mine, the hauntingly beautiful duet of Jose Feliciano and Gloria Estefan and ‘Tengo Que Decirte Algo’ where a wife confesses her affair, and her husband lovingly forgives her.

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Andy Williams His Talent Was Wider Than a Mile – Now Crossing in Style
Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 09/28/2012 – 11:07 News Rock & Roll Heaven

Submitted by Sandy Graham

On Friday, November 4, 2011, it was reported in the press that American crooner Andy Williams had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. The singer confirmed the news during an appearance that weekend at his Moon River Theater in Branson. He traveled to Houston, Texas for chemotherapy treatments and then moved with his wife, Debbie, to Malibu, California, to be closer to cancer specialists in the Los Angeles area.

On July 19, 2012, Williams’ theater announced that Andy Williams had returned to Branson following cancer treatment and was “in good spirits and getting stronger every day” and had hoped to take the stage as scheduled in September. However, on September 25, 2012, Williams died at the age of 84, having suffered from bladder cancer for a year.
I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Andy Williams in the late 1970’s and one of his greatest characteristics, besides the amazing voice, was his wicked sense of humour. At one show at Hamilton Place in Ontario, he came out to a rousing round of applause, then stopped in his tracks, turned his back on the audience, pretended to do up his fly, then did an about face and said ‘okay that’s a bit better!’. The same slapstick humour prevailed when he would come out after intermission with the then popular Kodak Instamatic camera and say, ‘you are such a great audience I want to take a picture of you all!’ Then he would hesitate for a second and say ‘ I can’t seem to get you all in the photo. Can you sit just a little bit closer together?’. Perfect delivery.

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Sam (Sniderman) the Record Man Passes away in Toronto
Submitted by cashbox on Mon, 09/24/2012 – 08:32 News Rock & Roll Heaven

Submitted by Joanne Smale on behalf of the Sniderman Family.

Iconic Canadian record retailer, Sam Sniderman, passed away peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by loved ones, in Toronto on Sunday September 23. He was 92.

Known widely as Sam the Record Man, Mr. Sniderman joined his brother, Sid, in a small retail store on College Street in Toronto in 1937 – Sniderman Radio Sales and Service. Together they built a chain of Sam the Record Man stores that literally spanned the country.

“Sam was the last of the great Canadian showmen that were able to establish themselves as household names purely through the force of their personality”, said Brian Robertson, a close family friend and Chairman Emeritus of the Canadian Recording Industry Association. “He was a mentor to literally hundreds of Canadian artists and musicians and the Yonge Street record store and Sam’s presence there was the centre of the Canadian music industry’s universe for over three decades”.

Sam Sniderman was a Member of the Order of Canada, was an inductee of the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame and the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, received the Governor General award and Honourary doctorates from Ryerson University and University of Prince Edward Island.

He is survived by his sons Bobby and Jason, as well as their wives Marlaina and Karen, grandchildren Zachary, Jhase, Cosmo and Echo.

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Joe South Don’t It Make You Wanna Go Home?
Submitted by cashbox on Thu, 09/06/2012 – 22:24 News Rock & Roll Heaven

Submitted by Don Graham

Someone asked me just the other day “Who’s your favourite songwriter? Who inspired you as a writer?” Without hesitation I said “Joe South!” And now, few days later came the news that he has passed on. He died at his home in Flowery Branch, Ga., Wednesday morning (Sept 5). He was 72.

In 1958, he recorded his debut single, a novelty tune called “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor.” In 1959, South wrote a couple of songs which were recorded by rocker Gene Vincent “I Might Have Known” and “Gone Gone Gone”.

Aside from being a prolific songwriter, South was also a prominent sessionman, playing guitar on Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”, Tommy Roe’s “Sheila”, Marty Robbins sessions and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album. Some list South on the electric guitar part that was added to Simon & Garfunkel’s first hit “The Sounds of Silence” although others credit Al Gorgoni and/or Vinnie Bell instead.

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Scott McKenzie Passes Away, May he find some “gentle people there”
Submitted by cashbox on Fri, 08/24/2012 – 11:12 News Rock & Roll Heaven

Submitted by Don Graham

Scott McKenzie of whom producer Lou Adler once said “ He sings like an angel. Scott McKenzie has one of the most beautiful voices to ever have a rock ‘n’ roll hit” has died at age 73 in Los Angeles, California. He is perhaps best known for his 1967 hit single “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair).” “San Francisco” was written by John Phillips, the leader of the 1960’s group The Mamas and the Papas. But McKenzie sang it and it has stood as an anthem for the 1960s flower power movement for decades.

Phillips and McKenzie, along with Dick Weisman, formed The Journeymen in 60’s, which Phillips left to form the Mama and Papas. McKenzie was originally pegged to be a Papa but declined to pursue a solo career. That cleared the way for Nova Scotian Denny Doherty to join. McKenzie would later replace Doherty in a 90’s version of the group.

Canadian guitarist Bob Cohen of Montreal worked with a version of that band that included Scott McKenzie and remarked what a nice guy he was and said of the signature song “San Francisco”, ” We all know what that song meant to our generation and for years I played it in bars with different singers. The first time Scott McKenzie opened his mouth to sing it while I was on stage with him, the feeling was indescribable. No one but him could do that song justice.”

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The Platters Live On as Original Platters Paul Robi and Herb Reed Remembered

Original Platters Paul Robi and Herb Reed


‘Remember When’ was just one of many classic Platters songs in the 1950s. Recently surfaced via Youtube a very interesting, enjoyable full length concert
circa 1980s. What’s especially interesting is that it features several groups sans original lead singers; times change, people pass or move on, yet these lead singers
offer if not a better sound a nice change from the originals .

For years I’ve tried to recapture my memories of Paul Robi’s Platters from when I used to see them in the mid-’80s at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, California and low and behold they’re here at Little Darlin’s in Florida, circa 1980s. I did earlier this year – at the fair- see an old schedule noting 1985 as one of the concert years I saw them… Paul Robi was not , technically, an original Platter – he joined them shortly after several originals left the group –  and one character and a good singer and songwriter.  However, Elmer Hopper, who would later, or earlier, do the leads in versions of Robi’s ’80’s Patters – and in our opinion is a better lead singer for most of the songs – does not do lead hear. Still, Robi is a presence and does a formidable job. Unfortunately, due to the abbreviated nature of this cavalcade show we don’t get to hear much of his humour, which was another part of his charm..But, it’s just great to see and hear Robi, who had the preeminent group after original lead Tony Williams’s early demise. The bass singer, Herb Reed (who we’ll hear from later) and last surviving member of the group until this year also had a group in the later years.

Ddris Jackson was an original member of the Shirrelles and is still charming and beautiful and a great lead in this ’80s version of the Shirelles. Just a nice change of pace to hear her over the equally talented origknal lead, Shirley Alston Reeves, still performing today. Sadly , Jackson, late of Sacramento, passed on at 58 in the ’90s. Jackson was a fixture on the West Coast oldies circut during the ’80s and ’98s.
Often backed by Will Porter’s All Stars she appeared often at Santa Cruz boardwalk and various Bay Area fairs. She had a beautiful soul to go along the voice. She signed autographs long after shows ended. I remember when she pulled out a rare gem, Blue Holiday, during an early Christmas performance. Oh the memories…

There have been a number of Diamonds groups out there and I can’t tell you much about this one but they also did well. Not sure if there was even an original member in this gorup (which is usually a no-no). We generally only support groups with at least one orginal member or who have license to the name. Anyway, also appearing here at Little Darlin’s it was interwsting to hear the Diamonds sing the song the theater was named after , ‘Little Darlin.’

Can’t say for sure about other groups on the show, namely the Crystals or the Dovells – but didn’t look like orginal leads, though the Crystals never really had just one. You’ll also get to see the last surviving member of the Coasters (at the time), Carl Gardner, who also passed this year.

The sound quality may not be up to stereo standards -it’s not stereo – but enjoy nonetheless… and let us know what you think… We’ll try to find some more rarities like this one…

Now, let’s hear the last surviving member – until this year that is – Herb Reed and his recent incarnation; Herb also reflects on the history and care taken to perform even with different members as true to the originals as possible. Reed speaks of manager Buck Ram, the mastermind behind the Platters. Ram wrote many of the songs and managed to keep filling holes as members left the group – and others tried to steal the Platter name and sound. Ram partner, Jean Stevenson(sp?) lives on today and supposedly keeps the orginal Platters name, ‘The Platters.’ If one looks in Google you can find a list of several other leads who weren’t originals, though Sunny Turner probably had the longest run of them and continues to perform today. It was Reed who actually formed the group in 1953 and found Tony Williams for lead and Buck Ram to manage the group – a couple of great moves we’d say! It was a smart move by Buck and group to hire 15-year-old Zola Taylor to add some feminitiy to the group, after which it really skyrockeded. For a time in the 90s Taylor, Robi and Reed all had their own versions of the Platters performing around the world, along with many other less than legitamate ones ENJOY!

Original Platters Paul Robi and Herb Reed Remembered




You would think with the modern times and advancement there would be more  creativity today  in all realms including political  advertising.   However, we find back in the day election bumper stickers, buttons were not only more widely seen but much more creative than  today.  It’s rare to even see a simple ‘Obama-Biden’ bumper sticker or ‘Romney-Ryan’ buttono these days but FIFTY YEARS ago they were EVERYWHERE – and it was an ART FORM.  Of course, the cars on which  people put the bumper stickers were much more CREATIVE, too, back in the futuristic, post-war era.

If it were based on creativity alone, back in ’64 we think Goldwater would have won the presidential election. There were clever lines like ‘ Light Bulb Johnson, Turn Him Out in ’64’ . There was even a button that depicted an atomic bomb with the caption ‘That is the ugliest thing I have ever seen’  which was referring to a painting of Johnson that he had disliked and made the well-documented statement.

Click on the images a couple times to enlarge and note the detail...



The Goldwater strategists made Goldwater’s famous horn-rimmed glasses a sort of trademark, much like the rock and roller, Buddy Holly did in the ’50s.  ‘AuH2O’ , the  chemcial name for Gold+Water is another  device they used. They even had individual bumper stickers for the various nationalities they were targeting, as below… American Indians, Chinese-americans and Mexican-Americans.   Alas, perhaps politcal advertising only works so far as Goldwater was trounced by Johnson in perhaps the most one-sided persidential election in history

Goldwater – Miller even had specific bumper stickers for the various targeted nationalites



Goldwater even came out with a giveaway, paper  phonograph record,  his famous ‘A choice Not An Echo’ speech, as below (in black).




      We will say that Johnson-Humphrey did a pretty good job with the buttons. Here we have ( though you can’t tell) two flash buttons, one for LBJ and one for HHH where two different images appear when the pins move slightly. This ‘early hologram’ effect seemed pretty neat at the time. Today’s politicians could do a lot more but we don’t see it – and they are charging $5 a small button for Obama. Lady Bird was pretty popular back then so we even have a button for the ‘first lady.’