SOMETHING'S HAPPENING: HERMAN'S HERMITS cofounder and drummer BARRY WHITWAM (pictured above, second from right) has announced the first personnel change in the band in quite some time, following the retirement of long time vocalist Geoff Foot. Editor / Publisher Michael McDowell brings the band's intricate and rich recent history into focus in the Bits And Pieces column (Click on the Bits And Pieces link under the Previous Posts column at right). (Click on above image to enlarge).

SINCE 1975 -

Welcome to the official web site for Blitz, The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People. Since 1975, Blitz has been the leading voice for the discerning music enthusiast. Blitz Magazine was also one of the first magazines of its kind to embrace the internet, having also been online since January 1996.

Here you will find news and updates about all of the key artists essential to the growth and development of rock and roll music and related genres, including rhythm and blues, country and western, jazz and easy listening. For highlights from recent past editions of the Bits And Pieces and Shape Of Things To Come columns, click on the archival postings on the right hand side of this page. Be sure and check back frequently for regular updates.

If you have any questions, please e-mail us at

Michael McDowell
Blitz Magazine
Since 1975 - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People

E-Mail us at for a list of available back issues.

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Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People


Follow the fascinating and unfolding tale (through her favorite music) of the life and times of Blitz Magazine's late and beloved Photo Editor, Audrey McDowell, as told by her husband, Blitz Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell. A Facebook exclusive! "Like" us on Facebook at Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People, and watch for further installments.


He literally caused an unprecedented uproar in July 1966 with his Warner Brothers 45, They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha! Haaa! We salute JERRY SAMUELS, otherwise known as NAPOLEON XIV, who succumbed to a heart attack on 10 March. 

We pay tribute to Ace Records flagship artist HUEY "PIANO" SMITH, who passed away in his Baton Rouge, Louisiana home at age 89.

In a free standing article under the Previous Posts column at right, we salute the extraordinary career of composer BURT BACHARACH, along with an exclusive, first hand account of Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People's hands on involvement in the creation of one of the landmark collections related to his formidable legacy.

Following the retirement of long time lead vocalist Geoff Foot, HERMAN'S HERMITS drummer and cofounder BARRY WHITWAM has announced the first personnel change in the beloved veteran band in quite some time.

Tragedy has struck the YARDBIRDS twice in 2023 with the back to back passings of founding lead guitarist ANTHONY TOPHAM and one of his vaunted successors, JEFF BECK. We salutte both of these giants and their remarkable contributions to the band.

He took the notion of radio as an art form to the next level. In a free standing article under the Previous Posts heading at right, we salute beloved Philadelphia radio giant JERRY BLAVAT, also known as "The Geator With The Heater" in a career retrospective that includes Blitz Magazine's rave review of his 2011 autobiography, You Only Rock Once.

The passing of BEEFEATERS, BYRDS and CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH cofounder DAVID CROSBY brings an end to one of the most storied careers in music history. Editor / Publisher Michael McDowell recalls the highlights, along with an unlikely personal encounrer with him.

The band's unique interpretations of classics by Creation, Paul Revere And The Raiders, the Platters and others helped place the Auckland, New Zealand quintet among the leading lights of first generation garage rock. We salute LARRY'S REBELS front man and cofounder, LARRY MORRIS.


The Legacy label continues to make available heretofore unreleased material from the vast archives of the JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE. The latest in the series comes with the deluxe LP and CD releases of Los Angeles Forum April 26, 1969.

In what is arguably the veteran reissue label's most ambitious project to date, Roger Maglio's Gear Fab Records has added to its acclaimed Psychedelic States series with a three CD box set, The Carolinas In The '60s, which takes a detailed look at some of first generation garage rock's deepest tracks.


The Akron, Ohio - based LIBRARIANS WITH HICKEYS have drawn from the best of all generations of garage rock to come up with an engaging mix of original material for Handclaps And Tambourines, their second release for the Burbank, California-based Big Stir label. 

Long time Belmonts mastermind Warren Gradus has joined forces with erstwhile colleague Jerry Steinberg to take vocal group harmony to the next level as SONNY AND THE BOYS in their latest album, Hopelessly Romantic.

Drawing from equal parts Incredible String Band, Jean-Paul Sartre and Donovan Leitch, composer vocalist ROXANNE FONTANA has come up with quite a musical pastiche with Phantasmagorgy, her latest for the Sprezzatura label.

Veteran five tool player BRIAN GARI plies his trade for maximum effect on Jeanne, the debut Original Cast label CD by his wife, JEANNE GARI.



CHECK OUT TIME: Along with lyricist Hal David, they combined to create one of the most formidable songwriting partnerships of the twentieth century. We salute the extraordinary career of BURT BACHARACH, along with an in depth, exclusive and first hand look at Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People's direct involvement in the creation of a Bacharach-related album project (Click on above image to enlarge).

( 1928 - 2023 )
By Michael McDowell

Freelancing album projects for various record labels while concurrently serving as a member of the entertainment industry press most assuredly had its aesthetic perks.

One morning in early 1984, Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People's offices opened for business a bit earlier than usual. It was a particularly busy season, which meant frequent occasions of burning the midnight oil.

True to form, there were a number of phone messages awaiting that morning. One was from the late Senior Vice-President of Rhino Records, Gary Stewart. 

"I've got a new album project to talk about with you", he said.

"I'm excited about it. I think you're going to like it".

At that point, Blitz Magazine was well into a long term freelance relationship with Rhino. Among other things, Blitz contributed sleeve notes, as well as serving as project producer and / or research and development for compilation albums by such storied artists as the Standells, the Chocolate Watchband, the Vogues, Joe Tex, Bobby Day, the New Colony Six, the Diamonds, Gary U.S. Bonds, Freddy Cannon, Jay And The Americans and others. 

Upon reaching Stewart at his office that morning, his level of excitement had continued unabated from the previous evening.

"We just got a go ahead for Dionne Warwick's Scepter catalog", he said.

"I'd like you to head up the project".

To be certain, a project involving Warwick's work for Florence Greenberg's storied label was most assuredly a quantum leap forward on all counts. As such, Rhino wanted to present it in a unique manner, commensurate with the label's in progress transition from cottage industry maverick to reissue and anthology front runner. 

For the Dionne Warwick project, Rhino opted to take an unprecedented approach. While up to that point the vinyl format had been the unchallenged industry leader for decades, the recent introduction of the compact disc offered a number of possibilities that were simply not available in the vinyl option. 

"Here's what we're going to do", Stewart said.

"We're working with a two LP format. You and I will pick the track listing for the album, and you will handle the sleeve notes. There is also a CD version planned, and Billy Vera will do the sleeve notes for that one".

While Rhino of course was among the first among such labels to champion a thinking outside of the box approach, by definition, there was a need (at least in the case of this particular project) to take into consideration such periphery as chart activity. In Warwick's case, her successful Scepter singles alone were more than enough to fill a double LP in its entirety.

Although chart stats were often only of marginal consequence in such projects, the Warwick collection pretty much demanded it in order to underscore the overall mission statement at hand. As such, Blitz Magazine acquiesced accordingly, while still keeping the primary focus on the attributes of academia and aesthetic merit. 

But doing so ultimately meant sacrificing for the occasion one ongoing perk that was part and parcel to the various Rhino projects.

In keeping with his own considerable acumen as a musicologist and record collector, Stewart afforded those with whom he worked in tandem the opportunity to weigh in on repertoire. What that meant was that if space permitted, the project manager was given the opportunity to cite a particular favorite track for inclusion on that project. In Blitz Magazine's case, that was how the utterly stupendous cover of the James Brown / Chubby Checker monster classic, Good Good Lovin' from their Capitol label Happening Live album ended up as part of Rhino's single disc anthology by legendary first generation garage band, the Outsiders. 

True to his altruistic nature, Stewart raised that option while the Warwick project was in progress. But given the sheer volume of material slated for inclusion, he knew that any such overtures would most likely ultimately be an exercise in futility.

Nonetheless, Blitz Magazine weighed in accordingly, lobbying for the inclusion of Warwick's March 1965 Don't Say I Didn't Tell You So single. The single had been a modest sized hit on Detroit, Michigan's exponentially influential WKNR Keener 13 radio, and its high drama atmosphere certainly placed it in the upper echelons of the artist's work up to that point. Ultimately, it was a short lived moment of hopefulness.

"Sorry Mike, you got outvoted", Stewart said.

"The powers that be wanted the flip side of that single, Who Can I Turn To, since it was more of a hit".

Minor discrepancy notwithstanding, the vinyl edition of Anthology 1962-1971 was released to considerable acclaim. Due in part to the newness of that particular physical format (among other things), the release of Vera's CD version was delayed for a few months. But once it made its appearance, the two editions literally provided the best options available at the time for that phase of Warwick's legacy. The vinyl and CD releases flourished in that respect for a season, until Rhino itself produced an all new upgrade.

To be certain, compiling the track listing for that project was most assuredly an exercise in familiarity. Such sublime Scepter label 45s as Are You There (With Another Girl), Looking With My Eyes, Anyone Who Had A Heart, I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself and Another Night had all been long integral parts of Blitz Magazine's archives. And all possessed the trademark high drama approach of the extraordinary songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

But Warwick was far from the only artist to work that prolifically with Bacharach. By the time they had teamed up for Don't Make Me Over in 1962, Bacharach had already made his mark decisively with a healthy variety of other projects, both as composer and as artist. 

In the latter category, Bacharach permanently endeared himself to many as a creative force behind the lovable Five Blobs, whose 1958 The Blob single for Columbia was put together for inclusion in the Steve McQueen motion picture of the same name. That same year, Bacharach also contributed to the great Perry Como's formidable legacy for RCA Victor, making Como's Catch A Falling Star single a two-sided monster classic by being coupled with the relentlessly optimistic Magic Moments. Years later, one of the theatres in the Southern California amusement park Six Flags Magic Mountain was named after that Bacharach-penned Como single.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Bacharach spent his formative years in Queens, New York. Schooled in classical piano, Bacharach in short order turned his attention towards jazz. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Montreal, Quebec in 1948, which was followed by a stint in the U.S. Army.

Following his discharge, Bacharach worked in various capacities (pianist, composer, arranger, conductor) with such giants as Vic Damone, the Ames Brothers, Steve Lawrence and Marty Robbins. By the time he and Hal David (who passed away in 2012) had joined forces with Dionne Warwick, Bacharach had already added to his curriculum vitae many celebrated collaborations with everyone from Gene McDaniels and Chuck Jackson to the Drifters and the Shirelles.

All of which underscored in part just how far reaching his work had permeated the musical landscape.

In the late 1990s, Bacharach's work had enjoyed a renewed appreciation, due in part to the runaway success of the motion picture Grace Of My Heart and his collaboration with Elvis Costello on the film's showcase track, God Give Me Strength. Costello and Bacharach took to the concert stage at that time to considerable acclaim, including one most memorable performance at the Universal Ampitheatre in Universal City, California, in which Blitz Magazine was in attendance. 

That particular performance particularly resonated with Blitz's late and much, much missed Photo Editor and Cinematographer, Audrey McDowell, whose interest in Bacharach's overall catalog increased exponentially at that point. All of which made for a somewhat amusing development in 1998.

That year, in tandem with the aforementioned renewed interest in Bacharach's work, Rhino Records released a three CD collection, The Look Of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection. That particular collection not only highlighted some of Bacharach's best work with the Five Blobs, Warwick and Jackson, but it also featured some of his most celebrated collaborations with Rick Nelson, Gene Pitney, Billy J. Kramer, Maxine Brown, Jack Jones, Lou Johnson, Jackie DeShannon, Tom Jones, Cilla Black, Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass, Richard Chamberlain, Dusty Springfield, Bobby Vinton, Manfred Mann, the Carpenters, the Fifth Dimension and others. In other words, it was the ultimate Bacharach compilation available to date.

So much so that when Rhino Records forwarded a review copy of the Bacharach box set to Blitz Magazine, it immediately caught the attention of Audrey McDowell, who appropriated it on the spot.

"Mine!", she said, in a rare moment of finality.

Blitz Magazine attempted to negotiate, to no avail.

"But we need it in order to write a review".

"Then get your own!", she retorted.

Ultimately, Blitz Magazine did just that, and a rave review followed in timely fashion. Meanwhile, so cherished by Audrey McDowell was that promo copy of Bacharach's CD box set that she kept it well archived so that it could retrieved and appreciated at a moment's notice. The Bacharach box remained in heavy rotation in her regular listening until her tragic and untimely passing in October 2014.

Indeed, those Blitz Magazine tales are but two examples of the far reaching influence of Bacharach's unique and remarkable gifts. Aside from his own life story, perhaps the best account of his legacy came within They're Playing Our Song, the acclaimed autobiography of fellow composer and vocalist, Carole Bayer Sager. Even so, Sager's detailed, first hand recollections reflect but one of many different takes on the Bacharach legacy that have surfaced in the hours following his passing.

A tireless champion of his art, Bacharach passed away of natural causes at his Los Angeles home on 09 February. He was 94.


MIDNIGHTS SPECIAL: From Black Friday through the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays, Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People will be showcasing some of the best new LPs, CDs, DVDs and books of 2022 to help guide you in your search for either the perfect musical gift or a worthwhile addition to your own archives. Some of those highlights include new LPs by HANK WILLIAMS JUNIOR (Rich White Honky Blues) and TAYLOR SWIFT (Midnights), as well as a DVD by MIKE OLDFIELD (celebrating the 50th anniversary of his landmark Tubular Bells album) and autobiographies by DAVID LIBERT of the HAPPENINGS (Rock And Roll Warrior) and pioneering composer and vocalist PAUL EVANS. Editor / Publisher Michael McDowell sets the stage below (Click on the above image to enlarge).

By Michael McDowell

"Everybody wants to get into the act".

That classic observation from the late, great Jimmy Durante has taken on a whole new meaning in the recording industry in recent years. Ever since vinyl regained its place as the predominant physical format amongst musicologists and record collectors, retailers of all stripes (including pharmacies, cafes and clothing stores, as well as the still flourishing brick and mortar record shops) have risen to the occasion. Their efforts have reached out to the peripheral enthusiast in ways that augment the various record collector conventions and trade shows. To that effect major galas are on tap in such prime locales as New York, Chicago, Toronto, Detroit, Toledo, Columbus, Indianapolis, Philadelphia and Los Angeles throughout 2023.

That said, while the major retail sector might be able to accommodate the marginal music enthusiast, there nonetheless remains a bit of a learning curve. The promising but limited selection of special editions and established mainstream successes may well satisfy their own interests. But if they are shopping for their more hardcore loved ones, more likely than not, that intended recipient may already have those releases in their own archives.

As the lone remaining active publiation from the independent publishing boom that arose in tandem with the so-called punk/new wave movement, Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People has long served as the home for the still active veteran greats of all genres, as well as the most promising aspirants.  

Still, with the recording industry in better condition than it has been in some time, a mixed blessing that was common to Music Directors and Program Directors at radio stations throughout the peak creative period of the 1950s and 1960s has once again availed itself  At that time, with a staggering 300 to 600 top drawer new releases reaching their desks each week, industry visionaries such as WKNR Keener 13's Paul Cannon and the late, great Frank "Swingin' " Sweeney, as well as CKLW's Rosalie Trombley more than had their work cut out for them. 

While it might not seem apparent to the casual observer (given that the still impressive numbers are not yet quite as imposing as they were during the aforementioned boom period), those mixed blessing conditions are once again availing themselves. In the process, it does raise the question: what is the magrinal enthusiast to do when Christmas shopping for that hard to please loved one?

Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People may well have the answer.

Beginning this Black Friday weekend through the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays, Blitz Magazine will spotlight various albums, 45s, CDs, DVDs and books that were released throughout this year, and which remain worthy of your consideration. Whether looking for additions to your own archives or helping to make a merrier Christmas for that special someone, Blitz Magazine's Black Friday and Christmas Guide can point you in the right direction. 

Blitz Magazine itself is not offering any of these items for sale during this Christmas season. Nonetheless, we look forward to opening the door for you to enjoy the work of some of the finest God-given talent out there. With that, have a bountiful and extended Black Friday season while on your way to a Merry Christmas!



PHOTOGENIC SCHIZOPHENIC YOU: When it came to pushing the envelope, few artists succeeded on such an all encompassing level as did JERRY SAMUELS, also known as NAPOLEON XIV. Editor/Publisher Michael McDowell pays tribute to Samuels, who passed away from a heart attack on 10 March (Click on above image to enlarge)

(1938 - 2023)

When it came to records that had been banned, few 45s endured that distinction with as much furor as did a particular July 1966 single for Warner Brothers.

Suburban Detroit's groundbreaking WKNR Keener 13 radio had seen its share of controversy at that point. In its less than three years of existence, WKNR had endured occasional howls of indignation from various factions that took exception to their championing a handful of supposedly controversial singles. Those 45s included everything from the Kingsmen's first generation garage rock standard, Louie Louie to the Shangril-Las' somewhat unnerving rendition of Ray Peterson's Give Us Your Blessings.

But no single had generated as intense of a reaction at that point as did that July 1966 release. The single in question was an original composition by radio personality, vocalist (the 1956 Puppy Love 45 on RCA Victor's affiliate Vik label), acclaimed composer (Adam Wade's As If I Didn't Know and Sammy Davis Junior's The Shelter Of Your Arms) and New York City native, Jerrold "Jerry" Samuels. Released under the name Napoleon XIV, They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha! Haaa! garnered a greater than average share of attention via its seemingly cavalier tale of the ravages of mental illness. 

A solid number one in the area ratings and widely hailed as the national test market station, WKNR and music director Paul Cannon were never ones to shy away from controversy. They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha! Haaa! made its debut on the 25 July Keener Music Guide at a nearly unprecedented number six (superseded in that respect the previous December only by the Beatles' Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out single, which debuted at number four). The fact that WKNR's weekly add ons normally premiered at the bottom of their Music Guide's 32 singles was indicative of the scrutiny to come. 

Ultimately, that scrutiny proved to be short lived. The Napoleon XIV single was gone from WKNR the following week. Nonetheless, it continued to sell in copious amounts, buoyed in no small part by the backwards rendition of the track on the flip side. To that effect, there was an area garage band in Michigan's upper peninsula that included their rendition of the backwards version in their live set, with the drummer pumping air into the bass drum to more accurately simulate the original. 

Undaunted and/or motivated by the attention (which replicated itself nationwide), Samuels cut an album for Warner Brothers, featuring such like minded originals as Photogenic Schizophrenic You, Marching Off To Bedlam and I Live In A Split Level Head. In the process, Samuels gained an audience that either sympathized or empathized with his forthright depictions of the darker side of life. As such, much of his catalog remained in print well into the twenty-first century. 

Sadly, Samuels' extraordinary legacy came to an end on the morning of 10 March 2023 with his passing from a heart attack. In accordance with the tried and true maxim of separating the art from the artist, Samuels' wife Bobbie painted a somewhat different portrait of her husband than his recorded legacy would suggest.

"He was my rock and the greatest love of my life", she said.

"He taught me to be strong".

Indeed, perhaps there is strength to be gleaned from the frank depictions in Samuels' work of high drama at its most challenging. In unity there is strength, and Samuels' willingness to take candor to the next level has been known to provide a degree of support and encouragement among those who have faced similar challenges.

"I (will fill you in) with the details (in) his memorial", Bobbie Samuels said.

Jerry Samuels was 84. Memorial services are pending.

(1934 - 2023)

He was the ace of Ace Records.

Throughout its storied history, the Louisiana-based Ace label brought some of the most treasured figures in rock and roll and rhythm and blues to the forefront. They included Frankie Ford, Lightnin' Slim, Elmore James, Earl King, Sonny Boy Williamson, Bobby Marchan, Jimmy Clanton, Joe Tex, the Silhouettes, Lee Dorsey and Huey "Piano" Smith, to name but a few.

Born Huey Pierce Smith in New Orleans, Smith made his recording debut in 1953 with the highly promising You Made Me Cry / You're Down With Me single for Savoy. By 1956, Smith had been recruited by Ace, making his debut there with We Like Mambo that same year.

By decade's end, Smith had decisively asserted his role as Ace's flagship artist. In tandem with his group, the Clowns, Smith permanently endeared himself to the rank and file with his wonderfully screwy 1958 Don't You Just Know It single for the label. Both that song and its flip side, High Blood Pressure were covered by dozens of artists throughout the next decade.

Indeed, his most memorable tracks were likewise successfully covered by others. They include the great Dinah Lee's rendition of Don't You Know Yockomo, as well as Johnny Rivers' interpretation of Rockin' Pneumonia And Boogie Woogie Flu

Smith and his band also recorded the original version of Sea Cruise for Ace, although it was the lead vocal of the late Frankie Ford whose voice was dubbed onto the backing track for the 1959 hit single. Sea Cruise remains one of rock and roll's definitive masterpieces and was covered in 1965 by Herman's Hermits on their debut LP for MGM.

Although Smith only returned to the spotlight sporadically in his later years, he remained a significantly influential figure well into the twenty-first century. Sadly, Smith passed away at his Baton Rouge home on 13 February. He was 89.


With the 15 December 2022 passing of (Young) Rascals drummer Dino Danelli, the number of veteran bands whose original and/or classic line up remains intact has dwindled to almost zero.

Such is the reality of our times. More than a half century after the fact, virtually every classic band has endured losses, either through the passing of one of their founding members or as the result of retirement. 

Nonetheless, many of those who remain have opted to persevere by recruiting new members to sustain their momentum. To that effect, as they approach the sixty year mark as a band, the incarnation of Herman's Hermits that is led by drummer Barry Whitwam has announced its first personnel change in some time.

The most storied incarnation of Herman's Hermits made its debut for the MGM label in 1964 with their sublime cover of Earl Jean's I'm Into Something Good. The band at that time was comprised of Whitwam, along with lead vocalist Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone, rhythm guitarist Keith Hopwood, bassist Karl Anthony Green and the late, great virtuoso, Derek "Lek" Leckenby on lead guitar.

That incarnation of the band persevered into the early 1970s, at which time Noone opted for a solo career. Noone was succeeded as front man by the late Peter Cowap, with whom the band recorded the groundbreaking Whale Of A Tale album, as well as a pair of acclaimed singles for RCA Victor.

Cowap was eventually replaced by John Gaughan. He remained with Herman's Hermits for one single, You've Gotta Love Me Baby before opting for a solo career in Gospel music. Hopwood concurrently retired to pursue a career in studio work.

But by the mid-1970s, Herman's Hermits had developed their mission statement to the point that for the remainder of the decade, they were arguably the most formidable live band on the planet. Fined tuned to perfection as a four piece, that incarnation of Herman's Hermits featured bassist Karl Green doubling as the band's highly charismatic lead vocalist, with Leckenby and Whitwam remaining in their respective roles. Rhythm guitar responsibilities were by that time overseen by Toggery Five cofounder, Frank Renshaw. 

That line up went on to record some of the band's finest moments, including their Ginny Go Softly single for Private Stock, (I'm In A) Lonely Situation and a cover of Leo Sayer's Train for Buddah and the utterly stupendous 1978 Heart Get Ready For Love single for the great Morris Levy's Roulette Records. Heart Get Ready For Love was ultimately hailed by Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People as the Best Single of the decade of the 1970s.

The Green, Leckenby, Renshaw and Whitwam incarnation of Herman's Hermits continued to tour prolifically for the remainder of the 1970s. The band's activities were also chronicled at great length in Blitz Magazine at the time. Sadly, their momentum was nearly derailed in early 1980 with the sudden retirement of Karl Green. The band brought in long time British Invasion colleague Dave Barrow as bassist, with Renshaw most capably assuming the front man role. The band added a formidable rendition of Merle Haggard's Honky Tonk Night Time Man into their live set at the time, although plans to release it as a single never reached fruition.

Meanwhile, former front man Peter Noone enjoyed brief but considerable acclaim in the early 1980s as the front man of the Tremblers, whose Twice Nightly album remains a highlight of the so called punk / new wave movement. Noone presently fronts an all new version of Herman's Hermits, which tours North America regularly. 

In turn, Frank Renshaw bid farewell to the band in the early 1980s to resume his solo career. He presently resides in Spain. Leckenby and Whitwam persevered for the remainder of the decade with a revolving door line up of bassists and lead vocalists. The band toured with the Monkees prior to decade's end. 

Most tragically, the band's legacy almost came to an end in 1994 with the horrific passing of Leckenby from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The valiant, beloved rock and roll journeyman was ultimately saluted by Blitz Magazine in 2001 in the Blitz Awards for the Twentieth Century as Rock And Roll's Person Of The Century. 

In recent years, Karl Green has returned to the studio for a series of ambitious recordings as the Karl Green Band. And as noted, Noone continues to front his own incarnation of Herman's Hermits in North America from his Southern California home base. 

Throughout the twenty-first century to date, Whitwam has kept his own version of the band in action via consistent live performances throughout Europe and Asia. And with the dawn of 2023, Whitwam has announced the band's first personnel change in some time.

"Geoff Foot played his last gig with Herman's Hermits on (14 January) at Butlins", said Whitwam.

"It was a great show. As usual, Geoff was on fine form".

As one of the last remaining additions to the band from the final years of the Leckenby/Whitwam incarnation, Foot retires with the longest tenure with the band of any non-original member.

"Geoff has been with me for over thirty years and will be greatly missed by me and the lads", said Whitwam.

"We all wish Geoff the very best for the future".

Thankfully, the transition was smooth. The new line up of Herman's Hermits made their debut the following evening.

"Jamie Thurston has taken over as lead singer and front man and is doing a fantastic job", said Whitwam.

"We had our first show (on 15 January) in Littlecote House Hotel / Warners, which (was) fabulous. John Summerton has taken over on lead guitar and vocal and is doing a superb job".

To paraphrase one of the band's MGM era singles, personnel may come, personnel may go. But in the case of Herman's Hermits, they are still into something good.


January 2023 has been not only be a month rife that is with tragedy in the world of music. It has also proven to be doubly so for a beloved veteran band.

Tragically, Yardbirds cofounder, lead guitarist and Southall, West London native Anthony "Top" Topham has succumbed to a protracted battle against dementia. His passing comes just days after the sudden death of Jeff Beck, who succeeded Topham's replacement in the Yardbirds, Eric Clapton in 1965.

Topham (also known as Sanderson Topham) was an art student who formed the band in 1963 with vocalist Keith Relf, rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and drummer Jim McCarty, The band proved to be so promising at the onset that Topham and his bandmates were blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime two weeks after their formation by supporting visionary blues giant Cyril Davies at the Eel Pie Island.

However, academic commitments prevented Topham's long term commitment with the band. He was replaced by classmate Eric Clapton, who in turn was succeeded by Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Topham managed to release a solo LP for Blue Horizon in 1969, Ascension Heights. 

Coming full circle, Topham once again joined the Yardbirds in 2013. The band had reunited and persevered with a vengeance in the present century, with McCarty and Dreja on board from the original line up, until ill health forced Dreja into retirement in the mid-2010s. Topham remained with the band for another two years until his own health concerns precluded his ongoing involvement.

"Unfortunately, we lost touch recently", said McCarty.

"We had been quite close. But he found it difficult to come back into the band a few years ago. Bless you, Top".

Topham was 75. Funeral arrangements are pending.

( 1941 - 2023 )

It was a warm and otherwise uneventful summer day in Southern California's San Fernando Valley in the late 1990s. Suddenly, things were about to take a turn for the dramatic.

Blitz Magazine was motoring northbound on one of the Valley's main thoroughfares. Meanwhile, a few feet up the road, a familar looking pedestrian walked between two parked cars and stepped out into the street without checking traffic. 

Thankfully, the brakes were applied and the horn was sounded. The pedestrian suddenly rallied and hastily stepped back between the parked cars. No harm was done.

As Blitz Magazine slowed to check with the pedestrian, the pedestrian grinned, waved and said, "Sorry, man".

"No harm done. Glad you are okay", was Blitz Magazine's response, as both motorist and pedestrian continued upon their respective journeys. 

In retrospect, perhaps a longer stop would have been in order. For the pedestrian in question was none other than Beefeaters, Byrds and Crosby, Stills And Nash cofounder David Van Cortlandt Crosby.

A native of Los Angeles and the son of cinematographer Floyd Crosby, David Crosby hit the ground running in 1964 as a member of the Beefeaters. The band recorded the acclaimed Please Let Me Love You single for Elektra that year, prior to being recruited by Columbia and changing their name to the Byrds. 

During his tenure with the Byrds, Crosby composed and/or co-authored some of the band's most memorable tracks, including Everybody's Been Burned, Lady Friend, Why and its John Coltrane - endorsed flip side, Eight Miles High.

By 1969, Crosby had joined forces with Buffalo Springfield's Stephen Stills and the Hollies' Graham Nash to form the supergroup Crosby, Stills And Nash. The band's debut LP for Atlantic was an instant vocal harmony classic, with such enduring anthems as Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Long Time Gone, Marrakesh Express and the Crosby-penned Guinnevere and Wooden Ships among the highlights. The latter track was covered by Jefferson Airplane for their RCA Victor album, Volunteers in late 1969.

An avid sailor, Crosby once purchased a yacht that was funded in part on his behalf by Monkees bassist and long time friend and colleague, Peter Tork. Crosby also pursued a side career in acting. His credits include appearances on Roseanne, The John Laroquette Show and The Simpsons.

In recent years, Crosby had suffered from cardiovascular issues. Sadly, following a lingering illness, he passed away in the early hours of 19 January. Crosby was 81.


Building a recorded legacy primarily on cover material can be an exercise in futility. Unless of course the artists in question are supremely adept at reinventing and/or personalizing such material.

Such was the case with the Auckland, New Zealand - based Larry's Rebels. Formed in 1962 as the Young Ones, the band had become known as Larry's Rebels by the time they debuted with Philips in 1965. The ambitious first generation garage rock quintet hit the ground running with a pair of promising singles, Long Ago Far Away and This Empty Place.

By year's end, Larry's Rebels had been recruited by the vaunted Impact label, where they became the flagship band in short order. One monster classic single after another for Impact followed, including I Feel Good, It's Not True, My Prayer, Stormy Winds, Mo'reen and their acclaimed interpretation of Creation's Painter Man.

The band also released the ambitious A Study In Black album in 1967 for Impact prior to front man Larry Morris' departure to pursue a solo career. The Rebels briefly persevered without Morris, releasing the My Son John 45 and Madrigal LP for Impact in the process. Their work has been chronicled extensively in nearly a dozen superb compilation albums.

Between 1983 and 1993, Morris lived in the United States. Shortly after their return to New Zealand in 1993, Morris wife returned to the United States to raise the couple's two children.

Morris continued to perform live prolifically in recent years. Sadly, his six decade career came to an end with his passing on 17 January. Morris was 75.

( 1944 - 2023 )

The way an artist envisions their own musical mission statement has been known to differ to varying degrees from the way that their followers envision it. Often to the dismay of both factions.

In a pair of lengthy interviews published in Blitz Magazine - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People some years ago, Yardbirds rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja and drummer Jim McCarty both saw their iconic quintet as a showcase for the formidable talents of each member, including vocalist William "Keith" Relf, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith and a revolving door line up of virtuoso guitarists.

But to many among the rank and file, it was that latter category which defined the band. Indeed, no other band in history had boasted such a formidable array of sheer technical acumen in that respect. 

The Yardbirds formed in London in 1963 with guitarist Anthony "Top" Topham. He was succeeded in turn by Eric Clapton, who soon after went on to work for a season with John Mayall before co-founding the supergroup Cream. 

Clapton's successor was Wallington, Surrey native Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck, who was with the band  during their pinnacle period (1965-1966) before being joined by and eventually succeeded by veteran session musician James Patrick "Jimmy" Page. Page remained with the band until its 1968 finale as the New Yardbirds, which he then used as a transition into the formation of Led Zeppelin.

Of the four, it was arguably Beck who most clearly defined the Yardbirds' signature sound. An avid devotee of the work of Les Paul And Mary Ford, Gene Vincent And The Blue Caps and Lonnie Mack, Beck first pursued his interest in the guitar in earnest while in college as part of Screaming Lord Sutch And The Savages, and later the Rumbles and the Tridents.

When Clapton announced his departure from the Yardbirds in March 1965, Beck succeeded him as lead guitarist. In terms of repertoire, the timing could not have been more fortuitous. Weeks later, the U.S. Epic label released the band's For Your Love album. 

While sessions for the For Your Love album began during Clapton's tenure with the group, it was Beck who was depicted on the cover. Their Having A Rave Up and Over Under Sideways Down albums (released as Roger The Engineer in the UK) followed in 1965 and 1966 and are arguably the high watermarks of the Yardbirds' recorded legacy. 

Moreover, the Beck-era Yardbirds were also responsible for several of the band's most treasured single releases, including Heart Full Of Soul, I'm A Man, Shapes Of Things and Over Under Sideways Down (and its vaunted flip side, the variation of Chuck Berry's Guitar Boogie known as Jeff's Boogie). Through it all, a dynamic tension persisted between Beck and the other four members of the band, making the high quality of their studio endeavors all the more remarkable in the process.

Sadly, as was the case during the Clapton era, those "artistic differences" continued to avail themselves during Beck's time with the band. As such, Page was brought in to stabilize things a bit. Beck and Page actually collaborated on the band's Happenings Ten Years Time Ago single and in a live performance of Stroll On in the motion picture Blow Up before Beck's departure to launch the Jeff Beck Group. With vocalist Relf releasing the solo single Shapes In My Mind in late 1966 to sustain the band's momentum during that transitional period, Page was at the ready for the band's 1967-1968 final run for Epic, which resulted in the Little Games album, as well as the ambitious singles Ten Little IndiansHa Ha Said The Clown and Goodnight Sweet Josephine.

Meanwhile, the Jeff Beck Group closed out the 1960s with a pair of instant classic LPs for Epic, Truth and Beck-Ola. By the 1970s, he was recording prolifically for Epic as a solo artist, with such acclaimed albums as Rough And Ready, Blow By Blow and Wired to his credit.

Sadly, Keith Relf died by electrocution in 1976 while a member of the band Renaissance. Dreja and McCarty kept the Yardbirds going well into the twenty-first century with an ever changing line up that managed to record a superb album, Birdland in 2003. McCarty continues to head the band, with John Idan on lead vocals, Doughboys veteran Myke Scavone on harmonica and Godfrey Townsend as lead guitarist. 

Beck also continued to record and perform prolifically well into the twenty-first century. Along the way, he garnered numerous accolades and collaborated with the likes of Brian Wilson, Johnny Depp and Ozzy Osborne. 

However, in recent weeks, Beck had contracted bacterial meningitis. The disease quickly took its toll, with Beck tragically succumbing to it on 10 January 2023. 

"I remember opening for the Yardbirds in New York City", said Question Mark And The Mysterians co-founder and renowned jazz musician, Robert Lee "Bobby" Balderrama.

"I was so looking forward to watching him perform live and hoping to meet him. But he didn't show up for the tour. Jimmy Page took his place. 

"I am saddened about Jeff's passing. His music will live on".

Survivors include his wife, Sandra Cash. Beck was 78.