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 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!


  1. Hi Tom: It's "that darned Desiree" again :) I was doing an internet search to find a nice place to stay ,as we have our 34th wedding anniversary coming up shortly. However, as our internet connection is ever so sluggish today, it's been a little frustrating, so I decided to 'call it a day'. I thought I'd take a quick peek at my blog before returning to my Monday chores and spotted your latest post on my reading list, so naturally had to pop on over to leave my calling card. I don't have time now to listen to the selection you've offered, but with this slow connection I'd probably not have much success, anyway. I just wanted to say a quick hello and to wish you a very good week.

  2. Desiree- Your comment is good as gold, dear friend! It's an example of how to be a great blogger and a great friend. It lifts my spirits to receive messages from you. Sorry to learn of your sluggish internet connection. I've been having the same problem off and on and it's aggravating, isn't it? I wish that I could offer you and your husband the Shady Dell Bed & Breakfast for your anniversary celebration but the house is still undergoing renovation. Happy anniversary to you and your lucky man! Thank you very much for putting a smile on my face with your visit and comments, dear friend Desiree, and have a safe and happy week!

  3. This guy played some solid tunes. I particularly liked I Can’t Stop Dancing. I wish growing up I had someone like him to play underground hits as opposed to Carson Daly from my teen favorite show Total Request Live who only played the chart toppers. I think I would have been a lot cooler if I had listened to the Hy Lit show instead. As always I hope your week gets started off right today. Cheers!

  4. Amber Blue Bird - Really? Are you kidding, you're as cool as they come, dear friend. I'm signing up to take coolness lessons from you. I'm glad you noticed my point, though. Shows that tapped the underground were so much better than the ones that stuck to the tried and true script all the time. I loved the Shady Dell because the kids made their own hits. They decided, not some guy in a suit. Rat on, rat on! Thank you for coming by, dear friend Amber, and please give Oliver a drumstick for me!

  5. Archie Bell and the Drells have a new fan- me! I really enjoy their sound- thank you for introducing them to me! And the Isley Brothers will never ever go out of style. Hy Lit was really a trailblazer and a visionary in the way he introduced music to the publis. I am going to see some of my aunts and uncles who were teens in the 60's and ask them about some of these folks and see what they remember. Thank you, Shady, for alway providing us with a wonderful way to start a morning-

  6. Hi, Shelly! I hope your spirits are on the rise this week and that the trend will continue through T-giving. As they boast in their hit record "Tighten Up," Archie Bell & the Drells are from Houston, TX, and they brought a refreshing sound to soul in the late 60s. They also had the 70s disco hit that I posted at end end of summer called "I Could Dance All Night." The Isleys had one of the longest recording careers of any group, starting in the 50s and still putting records on the chart in the new millennium. Please let me know what if anything your aunts and uncles had to say about the music and artists of the period. I miss Hy Lit but his son Sam continues to operate a network of enterprises related to Hy's career. Thank you very much for coming, Shelly, and I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  7. Hi Shady...would you believe I had not heard of Hy Lit?? We were an American Bandstand and Soul Train watching bunch of siblings. This is a great bunch of "new" oldies for me. You are the music man!

  8. Barb - How's your cold? I hope you're feeling better way up there in the great white north! I watched every pop music show that I could reach with my antenna, including a local dance party in nearby Lancaster, PA, shows in Philly (Hy Lit, Blavat's Discophonic Scene, Ed Hurst on the Atlantic City Steel Pier) and Baltimore (Buddy Deane), Thaxton's syndicated program from L.A. which was broadcast on a Baltimore station, Soul Train, Bandstand, Action, Hullabaloo, Hullabaloo London, Shindig, the T.A.M.I. Show and the Big TNT Show. I'm glad I introduced you to some new/oldies. To me they're the best kind. I greatly appreciate your visit, Barb. Take care, get well and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  9. Hi dear Tom. Hope the start of the week is going well for you. I'm afraid that I hadn't heard of Hy Lit either. What an unusual name by the way! I agree with Shelly about Archie Bell and the Drells - I really enjoyed listening to them. I've always been a fan of the Isley Brothers, so it was good to see them here today. Like you, I wondered where Sir Alfred was hiding in the forest today!

  10. Thisisme - I hope you get some answers from "#1" about Alfred. I hope my favorite canine hasn't run away to join the circus! The Drells and the Isleys had quite a few hit records between them, but most of the other acts posted here were either one-hit-wonders or no-hit wonders with the exception of the Dells who also had a long and distinguished career and quite a few hits. I'm surprised you don't remember the Dells' 50s and 60s hit "Oh What a Nite" along the classic ballad featured here, "Stay in My Corner," which includes the astonishing vocal feat by Marvin Junior, holding a single note for something like a half hour! I very much appreciate seeing you, my dear friend. It's nearly bedtime so I bid you a good night and a great week ahead there in England!

  11. These were great songs. I only knew two - I Can't Stop Dancing and It's Your Thing. Loved the Isley Bros. That was a cleaver video with Elaine from Seinfeld on it. Loved the dance moves on Snap-Out. Lots of fun today, Shady. Have a lovely week in Florida.

  12. Belle - As you might have noticed Hy Lit wasn't afraid to play instrumentals. That performance by the Interpretations band was taped at the WKBS studios and inserted into an episode of the Hy Lit Show. "The Mule" by the James Boys, "O-Wow" by the Panic Buttons, and "Keem-O-Sabe" by Electric Indian are other instrumentals that are very specifically linked in my mind to the Hy Lit Show and only to the Hy Lit Show. Thank you very much for coming by and listening to Hy's greatest hits, dear friend Belle. Have a wonderful evening in Kelowna.

  13. Great list! :) I am new to many...if not all of them... ;) But I always do enjoy being introduced to this era of music! :) The ironic thing is Mr. Sinatra is one of my favorites ;) So I do know a little bit of it! hehe.

  14. Kristina - You can't go wrong with the Chairman of the Board. His songs formed the soundtrack of my early childhood. During the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year holiday season of 1955 when I was turning 6 years old, Sinatra was on the charts with "Love and Marriage," the recording that became the theme for the sitcom Married With Children. Two years later when I was turning 8, Frank had a doublesider with "Chicago" backed with "All the Way." The following summer Sinatra had another memorable hit with "High Hopes" from the movie A Hole in the Head. Thank you very much for blessing me with your visit and comments, dear friend Kristina, and have a happy turkey day!

  15. Shady, you paid an excellent tribute to Hy Lit in both parts, from the very beginning. In Part 2, I don't know if you're aware of it, but over half the songs are Philly related. Jesse James' songs at Phil-L.A. of Soul out of Philadelphia, and then all three songs by Archie Bell & The Drells were written by Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, the Lennon-McCartney team from that city, also responsible for the Philly Sound 60s and 70s, including The Intruders, and Jerry Butler. By the way, Mrs. Kenny Gamble is DeeDee Sharp, the former queen of Cameo-Parkway Records. I enjoyed the Dells very much, as new and familiar songs to me. I watched Dick Clark on Channel 6 and Buddy Dean on Channel 2, but Channels 8 and 43 were the clearest, so I was unable to see roller derby or the Hy Lit Show. Too bad Dick dropped Charlie O'Donnell when he left Philly for L.A. Thanks for the remembrance, Shady Tom! I miss those special deejays, too.



    "Stay In My Corner" on Chess Records, released off the album "There Is" was actually the second time around for that song. It was originally recorded by the Dells on VeeJay 674, but only lasted 2:56. A beautiful song at the time, but not nearly as successful as the later 6 minute plus recording.

  16. Hi, Ron! Like you I prefer the 60s Sound of Philadelphia to what it became in the 70s. Yes, I knew that Dee Dee Sharp rolled the dice and married Gamble. By the late 60s roller derby had already been a guilty pleasure of mine for more than ten years. I started watching it in the 50s when the San Francisco Bay Area Bombers exhibition contests were telecast around the nation. I miss top 40 radio. I predict that the format could make a comeback if somebody would give it a try and do it right. Thanks so much for your visit and comments, Ron, and stay tuned for your next feature which is just days away!

  17. The way you write reminds me a lot of how my weekend sports anchor talks on air. Yours reads like a radio show while his sounds like a football announcer. Either way, it's fun to read or listen to.

    Oh, and I enjoyed the music too ;)

  18. Ashton - That's very kind of you, dear friend! I'm glad you enjoy my play by play commentary and dig some of these sounds. Thank you very much for coming to visit, dear Ashton, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving with that special guy of yours!

  19. Hi Tom! It occured to me how fascinating a movie, a well-made movie, would be of the life and times of Hy Lit. What times they were, too! His association with so many singing sensations was in the midst of such a pivotal musical era! I like it you brought out he was "never predictable", he was smart enough to know this kept and attracted new listeners.

    My favorite tune you listed was "Hitch it to the Horse". ;~D It was a surprise I came away from this post really liking the intrumentals. My top three instrumentals in order are "The Mule", "Switch it On" and "Keem-O-Sabe". Of course it goes without saying how I have always loved "It's Your Thing" by the Isley Brothers. I enjoyed the "Snap-Out" video and song. "Stay in My Corner" is a good slow dancin' song. Thank you, Tom, for delighting us with your music and memories. May you and Mrs. Shady have a very blessed Thanksgiving!

    P.S. The introduction of "Tony's" comments adds something special to this post. (Even if he is real or imagined. (?)

  20. I can't believe I hadn't heard of any of these - apart from the Isley Brothers, of course! Now, I must proffer my sincerest apologies for not including Sir Alfred in my Sunday Stroll post. What on earth was I thinking? I obviously had lots of shots of him, but omitted him from the final post - quelle horreur! Very interesting finding out what you have hiding in your drawers as well ;) Bon soiree dear friend!

  21. Cindy - Here's the true story behind Tony. I originally published a version of this Hy Lit tribute three years ago and a guy in Detroit named Tony posted that comment. I guarantee that he is/was real and not made up. I was so touched by his remarks that I wanted to make them part of this new updated post.

    I wish they would make a biopic about Hy Lit. I'd love to see (and hear) it. They already made a movie centered around the TV dance show of one of his contemporaries, fellow Philadelphia DJ Jerry Blavat and his Discophonic Scene. That 1988 movie, The In Crowd, starred Donovan Leitch, son of popular 60s folk rock singer Donovan.

    Thank you very much for brightening my day with your comments, dear Cindy. I hope that you and Clint have a very enjoyable Thanksgiving celebration!

    Gawgus Girl - LOL, I'd be happy to share my ham sandwich with you if you're interested, my dear. It's aged to perfection! :) I'm happy to know that Alfred is safe and sound and that he didn't run off to join the French Foreign Legion. I'm sure I'll be seeing more pics of my favorite canine soon, especially when you get back over to mum's next month. You are very sweet for stopping by, Emma. I greatly appreciate it! Good night to you in Paris, dear friend!

  22. Finally getting caught up on blogs and this one was really unique. I had never heard of Hy Lit and feel sure I never saw his show but the tunes were amazing especially some of the instrumentals. which I really liked and the name Keem O Sabe gave me a chuckle too. Most of the artist I had never heard of but am glad I got a chance to hear them. Thanks.

  23. Hey, Odie! Glad to see you here, good buddy. I know you've had your hands full taking care of Soffie. I didn't expect you or the other readers to be all that familiar with these artists, these records, or even with Hy Lit because they were, for the most part, Philly specific. For decades I was tuned into all things Philadelphia and even went there to apply for a job at one point. Thank you very much for your support, Odie, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving. (Please give Soffie a drumstick for me tomorrow, okay?)

  24. Hallo my dear friend Tom. I don't have an e mail address for you, so I'm hoping that you will pick this up, only I'm getting a little worried. I do hope that all is well with you, but I've noticed that your sweet comments have been missing from our friends' blogs over the past day, and it's not like you! Anyway, I have been thinking of you and hope that you have a very happy Thanksgiving. Hugs to you.

  25. Hello, dear Thisisme! It's a mystery to me because all day yesterday until bed time I commented on everybody's blog that appeared in my stream including that of your #1 daughter. Maybe Blogger is malfunctioning again! I have not commented on any blogs today because this is the first I've been on the computer. Keep in mind that your day is half over and mine is just beginning. Also please remember that I'm in the midst of a family gathering for the Thanksgiving holiday and this is the only chance I'll have to be on the computer until this evening when I intend to publish another post. Your concern for me warms my heart. We all need to look out for each other, don't we? I am blessed to have a friend like you and it's one of the things that I'll remember on this day of thanksgiving. Happy Thursday to you, dear friend Thisisme!

  26. I hope you have a lovely and beautiful holiday my dear friend! Eat lots and lots of food and rest well afterwords :)

  27. Lauren - Thank you, dear friend! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Having you as a friend is a great blessing!

  28. Well Tom, this is strange but as I'm listening to these selections I've got tears in my eyes. Such a compilation of old school and memories you've created! Not often I listen to these tunes and get misty eyed, but today, I am. Why the Choo Choo and the other bring tears is a mystery...but those old tunes have such tender memories.
    I do hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, again I'm sorry I was late to your party but I would have been a rude hostess during my own entertaining if I'd left to spend the time I feel is due your music fest/fete!


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