High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Show Me the Money, Honey! (Part 1)


At last count there are a million and one 
songs about love.  Lately I've noticed that 
there are nearly as many about money. 

By now you know how much I love to play six degrees.
I'd like to share with you a few songs and performers that are right on the money along with a few other favorites that are somehow related.


In 1953 the incomparable Clyde McPhatter left his position
as lead singer of Billy Ward's Dominoes and was replaced by Jackie Wilson. Clyde went to Atlantic records where a new R&B vocal group called the Drifters was formed to showcase his vocal talents. The early to mid 50s were the greatest years for the Drifters. Driven by McPhatter's distinctive voice their jump tempo recordings burst with energy. In the late 50s when Ben E. King took over as lead, Atlantic added lush orchestration to Drifters recordings and the group adopted a more polished sound. The new Drifters (the ones with strings attached) appealed to white audiences, enabling them to rack up pop chart hits like "There Goes My Baby" and "Save the Last Dance for Me." The earlier the better I always say and my money  is on the authentic R&B sound that the original Drifters produced during the Clyde McPhatter years!

"Money Honey" - Drifters (January 1954, 
highest chart position #1 R&B) 


1986 was one of the most exciting years of my life. Working as production manager of an MTV style television station,
I had the opportunity to meet many of the top power pop, hard rock, glam and heavy metal acts of the day including Kiss, Poison, The Thompson Twins, Ratt, Cinderella, Heart, Ronnie James Dio and Stevie Nicks. My station played the latest music videos supplied by the record companies and had veejays hosting various categories of music according to day part including a heavy metal show late Friday night that was similar to MTV's Headbanger's Ball.  One of the videos that burned up the boss lines and crossed over between the power pop and heavy metal audiences was Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight," a single taken from the Brooklyn rocker's album Can't Hold Back. The call-and-response style duet featured a rare, exciting and Spec-tacular appearance by the charismatic, melismatic Ronnie Spector, former lead singer of the Ronettes.

"Take Me Home Tonight" - Eddie Money 
featuring Ronnie Spector (October 1986, 
highest chart position #4) 


Under the tutelage of iconic record producer Phil Spector, the Ronettes developed a bad girl image, rendering their pop love songs in a more seductive manner than most other girl groups of the early and mid 60s.  Cloaked in Spector's dense wall of sound, the Ronettes achieved an international smash hit in 1963 with "Be My Baby."  I love to dig a little deeper for gold and I struck pay dirt with the Ronettes' less successful follow-up single "Baby I Love You."

"Baby I Love You" - Ronettes 
(February 1964, highest chart position #24) 


Black independent R&B record label owner John Dolphin, founder of Money Records and Cash Records, is one of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock and roll.  The story surrounding his murder includes three famous names from my youth. In the 50s Dolphin operated a 24-hour-a-day Los Angeles record shop called Dolphin's on Hollywood. In a payola scheme to turn records on his labels into instant hits, Dolphin arranged to have popular deejays including Cruisin' 1959's Hunter Hancock, conduct live radio broadcasts from inside his store. Dolphin's history of shady business practices caught up with him in 1958 when a disgruntled songwriter who had been denied royalties shot and killed Dolphin.  The murder was witnessed by famed drummer Sandy Nelson and future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston! Sound like a dream you have after eating an anchovie pizza right before bedtime?

Don Julian's R&B vocal group recorded on Money Records.  They started out in the early 50s as The Meadowlarks and recorded "Heaven and Paradise" (on Dootone), one of the greatest romantic R&B/doo-wop ballads of the decade.

"Heaven and Paradise" - Meadowlarks 
(April 1955, uncharted) 

Calling themselves The Larks, Julian's group earned a top ten hit in the mid 60s with a dance record called "The Jerk."

"The Jerk" - Larks (January 1965, 
highest chart position #7) 

In 1970 the Jackson 5 launched their career with a #1 hit entitled "I Want You Back."

A year later Don Julian and the Larks group brought their doo-wop soul sound into the 70s with a different song of the same name. This beautiful ballad failed to chart but deserves to be heard!

"I Want You (Back)" - Larks 
(1971, uncharted) 

Please stay close.
Part 2's coming soon and you know what that means:

Have a Shady day!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer Means Fun, Part 9 : The Giants That Ruled Gino's


In the 1960s I spent many summer 

evenings sitting in the parking lot of 

Gino's 15-cent Hamburgers 

watching the endless parade of 

high performance muscle cars going by.

All evening long hot wheels in all shapes and sizes would turn off East Market St. and crawl through the U-shaped lot.

The men in the cock pits drove their vehicles nice and slow...

giving the assembled multitude an opportunity to gaze in envy at the kind of machines that real men drove.

The Pontiac G.T.O. was one of the more common species
to gather at nightfall around the watering hole. In the late summer of 1964 Ronny & the Daytonas reached the top 5 on Billboard with the biggest hit of their career, a tribute to their little "G.T.O."

"Little G.T.O." - Ronny & the Daytonas 
(September 1964, highest chart position #4) 

That same summer Jan & Dean put a killer bee about the same make and model on the flip side of their smash hit
"The Little Old Lady From Pasadena."

"My Mighty G.T.O." - Jan and Dean 
(August 1964, uncharted B side of 
"The Little Old Lady from Pasadena) 

A guy like me, who sat in shame behind the wheel of his dad's Nerdmobile, had two choices. He could wear a paper bag over his head (recommended), or get defiant about it.

Hey mang, you think your Vette's bad? 
Word up!  My little Nash Rambler's got 
push-button automatic.  Eat your heart out! 

"Beep Beep" - Playmates 
(February 1959, highest chart position #4) 

If you've ever owned a lemon, a clunker, or a heap, you can relate to the way I felt behind the wheel of a schlock rod!

Unlike miserable me, Bruce and Terry were sittin' pretty in their "Custom Machine." Future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston and Doris Day's son Terry Melcher were right in the thick of things during the California surf rock and car craze of the mid 60s. The duo also made hit records as The Rip Chords. I like Bruce and Terry's rendition of this great car song better than the Beach Boys' original!

"Custom Machine" - Bruce and Terry 
(March 1964, highest chart position #85) 

In the summer of 1963 the Beach Boys got decent chart action out of two car song killer bees. "Shut Down," which narrowly missed the Billboard top 20, was a released on the flip side of the Beach Boys' top 5 single "Surfin' U.S.A."

"Shut Down" - Beach Boys (June 1963, 
highest chart position #23) 

At the end of summer 1963 the Beach Boys placed two more back-to-back hits on the chart. "Surfer Girl" cracked the top 10 while the fab flip "Little Deuce Coupe" finished its run in the top 20.

"Little Deuce Coupe" - Beach Boys 
(Sept. 1963, highest chart position #15) 

Earlier this summer Gary Lewis and the Playboys unveiled "Little Miss Go Go." Not to be outfoxed, the Hondells take us on a "Sea Cruise," covering the 1959 Frankie Ford hit and uncovering their own set of go go gals along with a mermaid! What does this titillating Scopitone relic have to do with fast cars and drive-in restaurants? I haven't the foggiest idea!

"Sea Cruise" - Hondells (October 1965, 
highest chart position #131) 

Stick around! More classic cars and drive- 
in memories are coming up in Part 10 of 


Have a Shady day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Three Cheers For Three Years!

"It started with an idea and a commitment."
- Shady Del Knight

That's right, 
Dell rats 
old and new. 

Shady Dell 
Music & 

is three 
years old 

It has been exactly three years since the 
Shady Dell reopened at its new location... 

here at the intersection of 
Blogspot and Cyberspace...

three years
since I began
to exhort all
Dell rats to
join the fun!

This blog is a catharsis.

It gives me the opportunity to share with 
you my memories of the Shady Dell and 
of John and Helen Ettline. 

It allows me to express how much
the people, the place, and the music
meant to me.

It's been a fascinating three year journey...

filled with surprises, teaching, learning,

sharing and wonderful new friendships.

As we head into our 4th year together... 

there are many more memories to share, 

topics to explore, and friends to discover 
somewhere out there. 

To help us celebrate our third anniversary, 

let's look back at some of the unforgettable 
images that helped to define the first three 
years. As we take this stroll down memory 
lane, I will paraphrase the monologue from 
a popular Kevin Costner movie. 

The monologue seems a perfect fit for the 

occasion because this blog came about 
when an inner voice directed me to 
construct my own Field of Dreams. 

People will come, Del. 

They'll come to your virtual Shady Dell for 
reasons they can't even fathom. 

They'll turn up your driveway not knowing 
for sure why they're doing it. 

They'll arrive at your door as innocent as 
children...longing for the past. 

“Of course, I won't mind if you look around,” 
you'll say. “It was once only 25 cents to get 
in and now it’s free!” 

They would have passed over the money 
without even thinking about it, for it is 
money they have and peace they lack. 

And they'll walk out to the patio and sit in 
shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon.

They'll find they have reserved seats on the 
benches surrounding the dance floor where 
they sat when they were children and 
cheered their jukebox heroes. 

And they'll watch the game of life... 
the game of love, laughter, tears and  
uninhibited youth unfold right before 
their eyes. 

and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in 
magic waters. 

The memories will be so thick they'll have to 
brush them away from their faces.

People will come, Del. 

The one constant through all the years, 
Del...has been music. 

America has rolled by like an army of 

It has been erased like a blackboard... 


and erased again... 

and again... 

but music has marked the time. 

This blog, these memories: they are a part 
of our past, Del.

They remind  
us of all that 
once was good 
and it could be 


Oh... people will come, Del. 

People will most definitely come. 

And come they did. I never dreamed at the 
outset that Shady Dell Music & Memories, 
the little blog that could, would grow into 
an international network of friends -
real friends 
who care about each other. 
As we begin year four, I promise you that 
Shady Dell Music & Memories will continue 
to be a place where everybody is welcome, 
everybody gets my personal attention, and 
everybody is a star if they want to be. 

Thank you, my dear friends, 

for your continued support of 

Shady Dell Music & Memories! 

Have a Shady day! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rat Ron's Retro Rock Reminiscences: Instrumentally Yours, Part 2


Three weeks ago Dell Rat Ron 

wowed the crowd with Part 1

of Instrumentally Yours, a 

post that featured some of the 

great long lost instrumentals. 

Today Ron's back with more 

terrific tunes and I brought 

along a few faves of my own! 

I'd like to get the party started with a shout out to my friend Sush at First Do No Harm. Sush is a North Carolinian who was born and raised in New Orleans. She grew up listening to Al Hirt, the talented New Orleans trumpeter, bandleader and Louisiana Music Hall of Famer. Hirt aka Jumbo aka the Round Mound of Sound scored his biggest hit in the early months of 1964 when his instrumental "Java" wound up in the top 5. Hirt followed-up with "Cotton Candy," a top 20 hit, and "Sugar Lips" which made it to #30 on the pop chart and became the theme of the TV game show Eye Guess starring Bill Cullen.  Early the following year Al Hirt achieved a minor hit with "Fancy Pants" which finished it's run in the top 50.  This one wasn't turned into a game show theme but somehow I can't I listen to it without picturing Gene Rayburn, Fannie Flagg and Charles Nelson Reilly!

"Fancy Pants" - Al Hirt (February 1965, 
highest chart position #47  

One of the dreamiest instrumentals from my teen years was
"(Your kisses take me to) Shangri-La" by Robert Maxwell.

Robert Maxwell - "Shangri-La"(May 1964, 
highest chart position #15) 

Allow me to slip in the vocal version by the Letterman for another dear friend, Amber Blue Bird at, you guessed it, Amber Blue Bird. I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog Oliver, too!

"Shangri-La" - Lettermen (November 1969, 
highest chart position #64) 

Okay Ron, it's time for me to pass the 
turntable over to you. Spin away! 

Shady, some readers 
might not be aware that 
Paul Revere and the 
Raiders started out making 
instrumentals. Their first 
single, released on Gardena 
Records, made it to #1 on 
WSBA. Paul's playing the  
piano.  I had a chance to 
speak to him on the phone 
when he was in Reno. The 
flip song had Mark Lindsey 
recorded at a slower speed
like a chipmunk, and 
dubbed with a normal 
backup. Paul also filled me 
in on that. It was called "Sharon" but it's not the "Sharon" 
on YouTube. Paul said they did that because it was a 
popular gimmick at the time. 

"Like, Long Hair" - Paul Revere and the 
Raiders (live, original studio recording 
April 1961, highest chart position #38) 

I still wish I could learn to play boogie woogie piano. 
This next record was a little more successful than the one 
by Paul Revere and the Raiders and was on the Billboard 
chart around the same time. Of course, you will recognize 
that this is a rockin' arrangement of a classical melody, 
Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble Bee." 

"Bumble Boogie" - B. Bumble and the 
Stingers (May 1961, highest chart 
position #21) 

Here's one last song in the same genre as "Like, Long Hair" 
and "Bumble Boogie". My boogie woogie version (which 
turned me on to the original Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto 
in A-something), okay A-minor. It made top 10 on 'SBA. 

"Asia Minor" - Kokomo (April 1961, 
highest chart position #8) 

Give your fingers a rest, Ron, while
I play a few. Some of my favorite intrumentals were themes from hit
TV shows and movies. One of the
most recognizable name that tune 
tunes of the 20th century was this
one recorded by Neal Hefti.

"Batman Theme" - Neal Hefti Orchestra 
(March 1966, highest chart position #35) 

The Marketts also laid down a killer rendition of "Batman" and reached the top 20 with it; but they really sent me into orbit with a tune named after the sci-fi series Outer Limits.  The record blasted off two weeks after the assassination of JFK and rocketed into the top 5 at the height of Beatlemania!
I guess you could say it was the rim-shot heard 'round the world!  (Note: those gosh darned teenage punks from Hot Rods to Hell are back for an encore. Gotta love 'em!)

"Out of Limits" - Marketts 
(February 1964, highest chart position #3) 

Rich in legend and lore, Route 66 was the Mother Road, the road west, the Main Street of America. It was also a hit television series. Premiering in 1960 the show about two restless young men searching for meaning as they traveled the famous highway in their Corvette convertible bore similarities to Easy Rider, the 1969 movie about two young men on choppers searching for America and never finding it.

"Route 66 Theme" - Nelson Riddle 
(July 1962, highest chart position #30) 

Craig Stevens starred as Peter Gunn, a handsome, sophisticated, super cool private investigator. Is there any other kind? The show's opening and closing theme was composed and performed by Henry Mancini who won an Emmy and two Grammys as a result. Ray Anthony released the theme on a 45rpm single, my parents bought it, and it's the version that I remember best from childhood.

"Peter Gunn" - Ray Anthony (March 1959, 
highest chart position #8) 

Dragnet, the crime drama that starred Jack Webb as dedicated Los Angeles police detective Sergeant Joe Friday, was on the radio five months before I was born and came to TV when I was two years old. Realism and unpretentious acting made Dragnet different from most other television series and set the standard for shows like Law and Order that came after. Three Dragnet motion pictures were made and my favorite is the 1987 comedy spoof that starred
SNL's Dan Aykroyd and rising superstar Tom Hanks.

"Dragnet" - The Art of Noise (July 1987 
uncharted, from album In-No-Sense? 
Nonsense!, from motion picture Dragnet) 

Ron, back to you, good buddy! 

Here's a little trivia for you, Shady. A news show here in 
Tulsa uses one of Sandy Nelson's hit records as an intro. 

"Teen Beat" - Sandy Nelson (November 
1959, highest chart position #4) 

My last instrumental is a two for the price of one single by 
the Rondels. Both songs are included in this clip: the A side, 
"Back Beat No. 1," and the B side called "Shades of Green." 
I owned this 45 and enjoyed both sides like I did with most 
of my records.

"Back Beat No. 1"/"Shades of Green" 
- Rondels (August 1961, highest chart 
position #66) 

Ron, let's wrap up two terrific volumes of lost instrumentals with a record that's hard to categorize. Is it an instrumental or a vocal? Decide for yourself as you watch this classic performance by Pete Drake and his talking steel guitar!

"Forever" - Pete Drake (May 1964, 
highest chart position #25) 

Thanks again to Dell Rat Ron 

for bringing us a ton of tunes 

that make old school cool! 

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, July 14, 2011









Oh God,

Hot Rods to Hell, the motion picture that featured the most clean cut, mother approved teenage hoodlums you'd ever want to meet. Take a look!

Kids misbehavin' with cars was a common spectacle in movies dealing with teen rebellion and delinquency. In Rebel Without a Cause (1955) James Dean chose to be a live chicken rather than a dead duck in a "chickie run" toward a cliff!

Boys love dragstrips and in this 1957 teen flick the boys also flipped for a Dragstrip Girl.

Dragstrip boys + dragstrip girls = Dragstrip Riot (1958).

The year was 1962 in the 1973 movie American Graffiti.
The George Lucas film classic culminated in a drag race on Paradise Road on the outskirts of town. It was John Milner
in his little Deuce Coupe (1932 Ford) vs. Bob Falfa in his
bad ass black '55 Chevy. At stake...bragging rights as the Fastest in the Valley!

In case you haven't guessed by now you're 
cruisin' through another installment of 

Summer Means Fun! 

Welcome to Part 8, another nitro burning, 
fuel injected, wheel standing, tire smoking 
post dedicated to America's obsession with 
the automobile in the 1950s and 60s! 

It was American Graffiti White Rose City style back in the 60s when I was a teenager. On warm spring and summer nights muscle cars in all shapes and sizes cruised the loop
in York, Pennsylvania.

Most of the clean machines that entered the lot at Gino's Hamburgers kept right on going. Few of them ever pulled
into a parking slot even if one was available.

Two reasons: 

1. Why take the risk of some clod 
dinging your door? 

2. Got places to go and people to impress. 

Hey, listen to what's playing on the dashboard radio! It's
Jan and Dean with their 1964 car classic "Hot Stocker!"

"Hot Stocker" - Jan and Dean 
(from 1964 album Drag City

To complete the double play, here's a track from the Jan and Dean album Dead Man's Curve/The New Girl in School which was released in the spring of '64 and ruled all summer long. It's the original of "Three Window Coupe," a song that was turned into a top 30 hit single by the Rip Chords. I like the J&D version better!

"Three Window Coupe" - Jan and Dean 
(from 1964 album  Dead Man's Curve/ 
The New Girl in School) 

The Beach Boys gave us many great car songs. "409" was their first, charting in October of 1962 as the original A side of "Surfin' Safari" which became a much bigger hit. Before Formula 409 became a popular household cleaner, the 409 cubic inch V8 Chevy was cleaning up at the dragstrip and wiping away the competition!

"409" - Beach Boys (October 1962, 
highest chart position #76) 

In 1960 Bobby Rydell boasted that he attended a "Swingin' School." In 1964, the Hondells, a studio-created group put together by surf rock songwriter/producer Gary Usher, dubbed their school "Hot Rod High" on the B side of their hit single "Little Honda." On their 1964 album Fun City USA, the Surfaris took the Gary Usher/Roger Christian penned car song out for a spin.  The following year the Surfaris performed their version of "Hot Rod High" on Shivaree, the Los Angeles based syndicated teen music variety show. (Note: Teri Garr, the blonde actress featured in Tootsie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Young Frankenstein, got her start as a go-go dancer on shows like Shindig, Hullabaloo and Shivaree. I'm guessing that the blonde dancer in this clip is Teri!)

"Hot Rod High" - Surfaris 
(1965, live on Shivaree

Don't go away! Plenty more classic cars 
and car tunes are coming up in Part 9 of 


Have a Shady day!