Fred Bronson discusses Martha Reeves, Alicia Keys and more with readers.
Ed Note: Fred Bronson is on vacation. A new column will be posted here on Monday, Oct. 4.
MARTHA, MY DEAR
My father and I are huge fans of Martha Reeves. In fact, we have spoken with her on several occasions and she is very congenial. Since her heyday, we have found her to be a very unique talent. We were wondering how much of her old product sells through the years and months -- especially her "20th Century Millennium Collection" et. al.
She has a new album out called "Home to You" -- have you had the pleasure? The set was re-released Aug. 24 by True Life Entertainment and prior to that Martha had released it on her own label, Itch Records.
We noticed that on the show "American Dreams" her music is prominently featured although the time frames are erroneous. If you could enlighten us on all things Martha, my father and I would be so thankful.
I'm a huge Martha Reeves & the Vandellas fan myself, as well as a fan of all things Motown. I've followed Martha's career ever since I heard "Come and Get These Memories" on the radio in 1963, but have to admit I haven't heard her new CD. I'll see what I can do to find a copy.
Martha was one of the very first artists I ever interviewed, by the way. I was 16 years old and writing for a paper published by my local top 40 radio station, the KRLA Beat. I met her in her hotel room on the Sunset Strip -- it later became a retirement home but is now a trendy hotel called the Standard. The year was 1965 and we talked about her career and her hit singles. I can't drive by the Standard without thinking about that long-ago interview with Ms. Reeves.
When "American Dreams" premiered, the series was set at the end of 1963. They have since moved up to 1965. I admire the show, but I prefer to think of the series taking place in an alternate universe, which explains why songs do not match up with the exact time period so familiar to us. It also explains why "American Bandstand" is still in Philadelphia on "American Dreams," when it moved to Hollywood in 1964. Rather than think about it too much, we should probably just enjoy the music, including all the great Martha songs they play.
Speaking of playing Martha hits, that's what I'm doing. A few weeks ago I mentioned in this column that I was thinking of starting my own radio station at Live365.com. Inspired by my friend Merrick Wolfe who created "Pop Goes the '70s!", I am now collaborating with him on "Pop Goes the '60s!" and we just added a bunch of Martha & the Vandellas tracks because of your e-mail.
You can listen by going to http://www.live365.com/stations/followpeggy and you can vote thumbs up or down on individual songs as well as rate the station.
As for your question about sales, per Billboard policy I can't discuss sales figures in this forum, just chart positions. If you want to pursue this, you can write to Keith Caulfield in Billboard's chart department. He can answer questions about sales in his weekly online column, "Ask Billboard." Write to him at: email@example.com.
ALICIA AND THE TEMPTATIONS
I love your weekly columns.
The following achievement should be noted: Alicia Keys entered the top 10 of the Hot 100 twice last week, with "Diary" and "My Boo." This is the first time this has happened to an act credited by name since the Temptations entered the top 10 twice on the last chart of 1968. Their "group duet" with Diana Ross and the Supremes, "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," and their own "Cloud Nine" entered the top 10 simultaneously.
In 1970 John Lennon [almost] achieved the same thing. However, he was only credited by name on his solo single "Instant Karma" and not on the Beatles' hit "Let It Be."
Have a nice week,
Thanks for noticing this rare chart achievement by Alicia Keys!
WITH A CHART SPAN OF 11 YEARS, NINE MONTHS AND ONE WEEK...
It seems like only yesterday that Billboard's Ken Schlager (currently co-executive editor of the magazine) called and asked if I would be interested in writing the magazine's "Chart Beat" column. I had followed the feature ever since Paul Grein initiated it in March 1981. I didn't expect Paul to ever stop writing "Chart Beat," but since he was moving on I was happy to be asked, and lost no time in accepting the assignment.
Paul wrote the print column for 11 years and nine months. As of this week, I've written "Chart Beat" for 11 years, nine months and one week. I don't know where the time has gone, but I look forward to staying on the "Chart Beat" for years to come. Thanks for all of your support.