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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Shady's Eighties Greaties Part 1



 It occurred to me recently 

 that I've been neglecting 

 the 1980s, conveniently 

 forgetting that I have a 

 few younger followers 

 (baby Dell rats) who were raised on 80s 

 rock, new wave and pop.  I hope to correct 

 that injustice with a four part series called 

 Eighties Greaties

In this series as in others my intention is to present artists, recordings and videos that you might not have even thought about in a while along with a few that might be new to you.

 Experience Eighties Greaties! 

Let's begin our Eighties Greaties salute by flashing back
to the start of the previous decade.


With its bright neon pink color and new age design the 1970 Kama Sutra record label resembled a psychedelic poster.

A Kama Sutra single by a band called the Jaggerz ushered in the "me" decade with a song about a Shallow Hal prototype called "The Rapper." Strange but true: Western Pennsylvania native Donnie Iris and I went to different schools together (dated, obscure reference to the title of the Jaggerz' second album). Iris wrote the group's big hit "The Rapper" which began a three month chart run at the end of January 1970 and wound up in the top 5. "The Rapper" was sitting pretty, positioned on the chart at #2 with a bullet; but despite its momentum the Jaggerz' record was denied the coveted #1 spot by Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and three other meteoric singles that leapfrogged over it in
a single week: "Let it Be" by the Beatles, "Instant Karma
(We All Shine On)" by John Lennon (recording as John Ono Lennon), and "ABC" by a hot new Motown group called the Jackson 5.

"The Rapper" - Jaggerz (March 1970, 
highest chart position #2) 


The Jaggerz were never able to repeat the success of "The Rapper" and joined the ranks of one hit wonders. After a stint with Wild Cherry, Donnie Iris went solo just in time to join the MTV revolution. Donnie's first solo album Back on the Streets spawned the hit "Ah! Leah!" and the accompanying video is a classic nerd meets beauty scenario.

"Ah! Leah!" - Donnie Iris (February 1981, 
highest chart position #29) 

With his act billed as Donnie Iris and the Cruisers, Donnie cranked out his second album, King Cool, another collection of yummy, radio friendly pop rock candy nuggets.

"Love is Like a Rock" - Donnie Iris 
and the Cruisers (August 1981, highest 
chart position #9) 

The Donnie Iris power pop factory reached peak production during the early 80s. In his trademark eyeglasses, Iris was the Buddy Holly of the MTV generation. Donnie's next album Fortune 410 was named after the brand of specs he wore and yielded the MTV hit "Do You Compute?"

"Do You Compute?" - Donnie Iris 
and the Cruisers (June 1983, highest 
chart position #64) 


"(I Can't) Breakaway" was the only American hit for Big Pig,
a seven member pop/rock band from Melbourne, Australia. "Breakaway," an edgy club dance record with an alternative, experimental feel, features an incendiary performance by
lead vocalist Sherine Abeyratne combined with feverish tribal chanting and relentless pounding of the drums, all seemingly aimed at summoning King Kong from his lair to meet his new bride, Fay Wray. The bizarre conceptual video that you are about to view was broadcast on MTV and on NBC's Friday Night Videos. The rad soundtrack and intense, sometimes nightmarish images put me into sensory overload every time
I watch it!

"Breakaway" - Big Pig (April 1988, 
highest chart position #60 Billboard, 
#55 Cash Box) 


As half of the duo Loggins and Messina, Washington state's Kenny Loggins cracked the top 5 in 1972 with "Your Mama Don't Dance." In 1984, as a solo artist, Kenny reached the #1 spot with the title song from the hit movie Footloose.

Kenny Loggins recorded two other movie themes that I like even more. Who can forget the lethal laugh combination of Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and his fur covered nemesis, the mischievous dancing gopher in the wildly popular comedy Caddyshack?

"I'm Alright" - Kenny Loggins (October 1980, 
highest chart position #7 Billboard Hot 100
#4 Cash Box, from Caddyshack soundtrack) 

Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt and Meg Ryan were all at or near the peak of their respective careers in 1986 when they appeared in the testosterone injected action/romance flick
Top Gun which revolved around macho young men training to be jet fighter pilots. Kenny Loggins just missed another chart topper with the movie's theme "Danger Zone."

"Danger Zone" - Kenny Loggins (July 1986, 
highest chart position #2, from Top Gun 


Calling Elizabeth "E.G." Daily multitalented would be an understatement. The beautiful Los Angeles native is a movie and television actress, voice actress, singer, songwriter and musician (proficient on guitar, harmonica, keyboards and percussion instruments). I remember her in the role of Loryn in the 1983 Nicholas Cage teen romance movie Valley Girl. Elizabeth was the voice star of Babe: Pig in the City and the voice of Buttercup in the animated feature The Powerpuff Girls Movie.

My favorite memory of E.G. Daily is the MTV video produced for her #1 ranked club/dance single "Say it, Say it." The clip features Elizabeth and other actors performing a brilliant parody of the 1962 Stanley Kubrick film Lolita. Check it out. This guy does James Mason better than James Mason does James Mason!

"Say it, Say it" - E.G. Daily (1986, highest 
chart position #70 Billboard Hot 100
#1 Hot Dance/Club Play) 

[Humbert decides to rent the room]

Charlotte: What was the decisive 
factor? Uh, my garden?

Humbert: I think it was your 
cherry pies!

 Stay tuned! Parts 2, 3 and 4 

 of Shady's Eighties Greaties 

 are coming your way soon! 

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dell Rat Ron's a Little Bit Soul and Shady's a Little Bit Rock 'N' Roll!


 Original Dell rat and soul 

 connoisseur Ron Shearer is 

 back as my guest blogger 

 and he's got a gunny sack 

 stuffed full of goodies! 

 These are the type of songs that 

 true Dell rats like the best and 

 respect the most: seldom heard 

 gems by underappreciated artists. 

 Ron, put the needle 

 in the groove and 

 play some platters! 



 Shady, as I'm sure you 
 know, Billy Butler wrote 
 one song for the Magnifi- 
 cent Men, "Babe I'm 
 Crazy 'Bout You."  Billy 
 was Jerry (the Ice Man) 
 Butler's younger brother. 
 Here is the best selling of 
 his songs with his group 
 the Chanters (originally 
 called the Enchanters).  
 The Del-Chords and 
 Mag Men probably sang 
 all of their songs. This 
 song was written by 
 Curtis Mayfield, lead for 
 the Impressions. 

"I Can't Work No Longer" - Billy Butler & the Chanters 
(July 1965, highest chart position #60) 


 This was one of my favorite Delchord songs, which was 
 written by Curtis Mayfield. I think that Major Lance did 
 just as good a job on his recording as the Delchords did 
 on their live covers of it. Is Major backed up by the 
 Impressions or by Billy Butler and the Enchanters? 
 A frequent discussion around Dave, Buddy, Ike, etc. 
 when Curtis Mayfield was involved in any recording. 
 Curtis Mayfield and Billy Butler were big influences on 
 the Magnificent Men. 

"It Ain't No Use" - Major Lance (July 1964, highest chart 
position #68) 

 Ron, you're on a 

 genuine soul roll 

 and puttin' down a 

 wailin' pound of 


 Now let me answer with some 


I'd like to play a couple of seldom heard nuggets by Ronnie Dove that were waxed early in his career before his string
of hits began on the Diamond label. Like Tommy Roe, Ronnie Dove started out recording in an authentic rockabilly style.
I enjoy this side of Ronnie just as much if not more than his country/pop recordings!



Ronnie played it smart, resisting the label and stereotype
of a teen idol. The Virginia born singer honed his craft in Baltimore nightclubs singing covers of Elvis Presley songs. Ronnie formed a vocal group called the Bell-Tones and continued playing Mid-Atlantic venues. Ronnie and the Bell-Tones made their first record in Baltimore in 1959. It only takes a few seconds to realize that "Lover Boy" was derived from the Elvis hit "Teddy Bear."

"Lover Boy" - Ronnie Dove and the Bell-Tones 
(1959, uncharted) 

Buddy Knox had the most famous rendition of this rockabilly standard but here's young Ronnie Dove and his group (now spelled Beltones) with their follow-up release, a fab version of "Party Doll."

"Party Doll" - Ronnie Dove and the Beltones 
(July 1961, uncharted) 

Now let's fast forward a few years and listen to a recording from Ronnie Dove's Diamond catalog. "Hello Pretty Girl" never climbed above the lower half of the Billboard Hot 100 but it's a great Ronnie record that deserves to be heard.

"Hello Pretty Girl" - Ronnie Dove (January 1965, highest 
chart position #54) 

Ron, back to you on the soul side! 


 Shady, my next featured soul artist is Mitty Collier, a 
 'Bama born songbird who flew to Chicago, became part 
 of that city's burgeoning soul scene and in later years gave 
 up secular recording, became a preacher, and recorded 
 gospel songs that included "I Had a Talk With God Last 
 Night." While listening to Theola Kilgore in one of your 
 posts earlier this year, I was reminded of Mitty Collier 
 who I originally heard late night on the Dick Biondi Show 
 on WLS in Chicago. "I'm Your Part Time Love" was 
 Mitty's first single and "I Had a Talk With My Man" was 
 her first crossover hit.  She followed it up with "No Faith, 
 No Love" and her biggest hit called "Sharing You."  Dell 
 Rat Ron had 'em all. 

"I Had a Talk With My Man" - Mitty Collier 
(November 1964, highest chart position #41) 


 Today's soul serenade concludes with an instrumental by 
 Jackie Hairston called "Hijack."  This single was released 
 by Atco immediately after Arthur Conley's "Sweet Soul 
 Music."  "Hijack" was produced by Otis Redding and 
 features Hairston's organ and a real funky beat.  One 
 of the clerks at Waxie Maxie's turned me onto "Hijack" 
 and the flip side, "Monkey On My Back," a vocal with 
 Jackie accompanying himself on organ (also produced 
 by Otis).  The A-side is by far hottest. 

"Hijack" - Jackie Hairston (April 1967, uncharted) 

Ron, let me take us home 

with two more toe-tappers. 


I loved The Lloyd Thaxton Show because it gave me my first look at some of my favorite artists as they staged lip sync performances of their latest recordings.  Younger readers might not realize that lip syncs were common in the 60s and that there was no shame or scandal associated with them like there tends to be today.

Lead singer Larry Henley and his Nashville based trio the Newbeats performed several of their hits and misses on Thaxton's Los Angeles based music, comedy and dance program.

The Newbeats turn up again and again on this blog because my respect for them has grown tremendously in recent years. Granted, some of their recordings missed the mark. Their lame cover versions of million sellers by super groups like the Beatles and the Supremes did not help the cause; but other covers and original songs are right in the groove. These Nashville cats made old school cool! Here's a great example - a non-charting single called "A Patent on Love."

"A Patent on Love" - Newbeats (November 1966, uncharted) 


I love Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon but I never heard his single "Patty Baby" until a few days ago. However, I was very familiar with the tune. How can that be? Freddy used the instrumental backing track to "Patty Baby" and sang a different set of lyrics to create a jingle for Arnie "Woo Woo" Ginsburg, the popular DJ on Boston radio station WMEX.

 If you're feelin' low he'll make you smile 

 at 15-10 on your radio dial 

 Arnie Ginsburg on WIMM-EX radio! 

Cannon's jingle was inserted in the 1961 volume of Cruisin',
the album series that featured legendary DJ's performing seamless recreations of their original radio broadcasts of the 50s and 60s, in this case Arnie Ginsburg's Night Train show. It was an anachronism for the producers of Cruisin' to take a jingle made from a 1963 record and plug it into a 1961 radio show, but listening to the program was way too much fun to complain. Rock 'n' roll is here to stay!

"Patty Baby" - Freddy Cannon (June 1963, highest 
chart position #65) 

 Starting next month I'll be 

 saluting every great volume 

 of the Cruisin' series from 

 1955-1970.  I hope you'll 

 come along for the ride! 

 Thank you Dell Rat Ron  

 for making this another 

 fun filled record swap. 

 See you next time, buddy! 

Have a Shady day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Definition of Cool: Hy Lit, Pt. 2

 The Hy Lit Show was the real deal. 

 Unlike some televised dance parties that relied on 
 chart toppers and million sellers to attract viewers, 
 Hy Lit's playlist was always cutting edge, never 
 predictable. Hy knew the latest sounds that were 
 breaking on the street.  He knew what was cool 
 and he played it. If it wasn't cool before then... 
 it became cool just because Hy Lit played it! 

Here, presented in chronological order, are more of the greatest get down sounds from the Hy Lit Show of the
late 60s. Listen to a clip or two and you’ll understand
why Hy Lit’s get-together was the boss, hoss. Like that
Cornelius enterprise over in Chi-town, the Hy Lit gig was
one of television’s hippest trips!

 Hy Lit’s Greatest Hits (late 60s): 

“I Can’t Stop Dancing” – Archie Bell & the Drells 
(August 1968, highest chart position #9) 

 Tony in Detroit wrote: 

 I remember the Hy-Lit show way over here 
 in Detroit. I loved it. I recall a dancer 
 named Harold on the show. This guy was 
 badddd! I got turned on to all those funky 
 songs from out there by Fantastic Johnny C, 
 Cliff Nobles and Company, Jesse James. 
 I still dig "Hitch it to the Horse."  That is 
 still so funky! 

“Hitch it to the Horse” - Fantastic Johnny C (August 1968, 
highest chart position #34) 

 My name Tony. Sorry about the loss of Hy Lit. 
 I was just a young kid then, but since then 
 I came to meet a lot of nice folks from the  
 east coast, Philly, Jersey, N.Y. - Peace, Tony 

Peace, indeed, Tony. Feedback like yours means everything to me because
it lends credence to the argument that politicians divide us and music has the power to unite and heal us. Thank you very much for
your comment, Tony!
Now, back to the show!

“Stay in My Corner” – Dells (August 1968, highest chart 
position #10) 

“The Mule” - James Boys 
(September 1968, highest 
chart position #82) 

“Do the Choo Choo” – Archie Bell & the Drells 
(November 1968, highest chart position #44) 

“There’s Gonna Be a Showdown” – Archie Bell & the Drells 
(January 1969, highest chart position #21) 

“Switch it On” - Cliff Nobles & Co. (February 1969, 
highest chart position #93) 

“Snap-Out” - Interpretations (April 1969, uncharted/ 
Performance video broadcast on The Hy Lit Show

“It’s Your Thing” – Isley Bros. (May 1969, highest 
chart position #2) 

“O-Wow” - Panic Buttons (May 1969, highest chart 
position #48 R&B) 

“I Turned You On” – Isley Bros. (July 1969, highest chart 
position #23) 

“Keem-O-Sabe” - Electric Indian (September 1969, 
highest chart position #16) 

Hy Lit was known
as the Goodwill Ambassador of Philadelphia Radio.
He truly was one
of the good guys.
Sophisticated, knowledgeable, articulate, versatile and absolutely oozing cool, Hy Lit was as comfortable among hard rockers as he was with 50s doo-wop balladeers.

 Hy Lit with the Four Tops 

Hy Lit had massive crossover appeal. He was a hit DJ on black radio stations as well as white radio stations. He
a great humanitarian who led by example. He was the kind 
of color blind unifier America needed then and needs now.

 Hy Lit: part of the solution. 

 Solid, man – thanks! 

Have a Shady day!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Definition of Cool: Hy Lit, Pt. 1

 I looked up the word "cool" in my 

 Funkin' Wagnalls and here's what 

 I funkin' found: 


 laid back, relaxed, 
 low-key, mellow, 
 calm, knows what's 
 going on, popular, 
 suave, stylish, in or 
 beyond the current 
 style, in harmony 
 with an ineffable 
 (see Hy Lit). 

Four years ago today the world lost one of the all time greats when Philadelphia broadcast titan Hy Lit passed away. Hy succumbed to a long illness and complications from a knee injury sustained in a fall.

I'd like to share
with you some
memories and
comments about
a man that I
greatly admired.

 * Born 

 in South 

 * 50+ year 
 career as  
 an icon of 
 radio and 

 * Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers 

 *Legendary AM radio deejay
and Wibbage (WIBG) “Good Guy” 

 * Architect of rock ‘n roll and 
 the early Sound of Philadelphia 

 * Worked with all the greats 

 The Beatles - Stones - Beach Boys - Elvis 

The Beatles, hiding from the throng of squealing girls that surrounded their hotel, stayed overnight at Hy Lit's house and, as the story goes, slept on the floor!

 * TV dance show host 

Hy Lit's dance show is the memory maker upon which I would like to focus.  From 1965 to 1971, Hy Lit hosted a televised dance party on Channel 48, WKBS in Philadelphia.

It was the same cool indie station (Kaiser Broadcasting)
that carried two of my other favorite shows, Roller Derby...

 (above) Judy Arnold - Eastern Warriors 

...and The Banana Splits.

 One banana,
 two banana
 three banana,
 Four Bananas
 make a bunch
 and so do
 many more. 

Okay, I know what you're thinking. You did the math
and realized that I was in my late teens when I watched
The Banana Splits.

I'll come clean and admit that I still watch reruns of Teletubbies and that Tinky Winky is the one with whom
I most closely identify (not that there's anything wrong with that).


I was a devoted follower of the Hy Lit Show during the late 60s when the program’s playlist percolated with edgy, gritty, junk-in-the-trunk funk. Hy frequently had the joint jumpin' to funky, Philly-style instrumentals.

Remember Harold, Sherri, Doug & Ting, the featured dancers on the show? The Soul Train gang had nothin' on them! Remember Hy Lit's sidekick, Bucket Belly? (LOL)

 You've seen 
 my Shady Dell 
 monthly playlists. 
 You've grooved 
 with the Geator. 
 Now it's time to 
 sample more of 
 Philly's phinest, 
 the greatest hits 
 played on the 
 Hy Lit Show! 
 I promise you 
 this Hy Lit lineup's 
 all filla! 
 Let's get started! 

 Here, on a timeline from older to more recent, are 

 Hy Lit’s Greatest Hits (late 60's): 

“Boogaloo Down Broadway” – Fantastic Johnny C 
(December 1967, highest chart position #7) 

“There is” – Dells (March 1968, highest chart position #20) 

“Tighten Up” – Archie Bell & the Drells (May 1968, highest 
chart position #1) 

“Wear it on Our Face” – Dells (June 1968, highest chart 
position #44) 

“Ain’t Nothin’ but a House Party” - Show Stoppers 
(June 1968, highest chart position #87) 

“The Horse”/”Love is All Right” – Cliff Nobles & Co. 
(July 1968, highest chart position #2) 

“Here Comes the Judge” - Shorty Long (July 1968, 
highest chart position #8) 

 That was just a tease.  Stay tuned! 

 In Pt. 2 I'll play more boss bad boys 

 from the legendary Hy Lit Show! 

Have a Shady day!