Jose, Marvin And The ’68 World Series National Anthem

FelicianoBy Bob Berry

Today, 10/7, is the anniversary of one of the most-controversial moments in World Series history.

It wasn’t a called strike, a play at the plate, or a fan “going Bartman“. In fact, it was during pre-game for Game 5 of the 1968 World Series with the Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals.

It was Jose Feliciano, appearing at the the personal invitation of Tiger icon Ernie Harwell, singing his very personal interpretation (and instantly controversial) of our National Anthem.

And boy, did it hit the fan!

“Un-American” might have been the most PG thing that was said to describe his singing. And, yeah, it was different, but to my ears then and now, hardly disrespectful. Hardly the lows of Roseanne, or Carl Lewis in later years.

Jose’, who had been on top of the charts with his version of The Doors‘ “Light My Fire”; saw his career among English-speaking audiences fall apart in the aftermath, save for 1970’s “Feliz Navidad“. And, in a nice moment of closure, was cheered when he reprised his performance at Comerica Park in 2010, after Ernie Harwell’s death.

BTW. There is one other “note” to this story. Ernie, who was also a songwriter (with “lots of no-hitters“) had been put in charge of selecting the singers for each of the 3 home games at Tiger Stadium. For Game 4, and with no disrespect to Mr. Feliciano, his National Anthem singer hit a home run!


Oct 7th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

The Final Countdown And Other Delights

EuropeBy Bob Berry

We’ve all seen it. The Geico “Final Countdown” commercial.

Funny the first time, amusing the next couple of times.

But now, it’s in “hot rotation” on nearly every cable channel (I didn’t check Lifetime), and it’s annoying.

A song by a band named Europe, written by a guy named Joey Tempest? Really?  #1 in 25 different countries? Really?  And in spite of being on my short list for worst song of the 80’s (lots of choices), I’ve discovered that Rolling Stone readers had a different #1, back in 2011.

“The Lady In Red”, “Never Gonna Give You Up”, “The Safety Dance”, they all there, plus “The Final Countdown”. Click here for the list, videos and Who’s Number One. Or Number Worst!

I should have stuffed the ballot box.



Oct 6th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

In The Beginning There Was Love Me Do

LoveMeDoBy Bob Berry

October 5, 1962. The Beatles released their first single in the U.K., “Love Me Do“.

Surprisingly, if only in retrospect, it didn’t sell all that well, peaking at #17 on the charts, and it wasn’t released in the U.S. until 1964! And yet within the next year or so, the world would know that the release of “Love Me Do” was a turning point for The Beatles, and in our lives, too.

Ringo, who played tambourine, not drums on the single, said it best:

“….That first piece of plastic. You can’t believe how great that was. It was so wonderful. We were on a record!”

And to think “P.S. I Love You” was only good enough to be the flip side!



Oct 5th, 2015 | Filed under Beatles, Bob Berry, Keener

Sunday Brunch With The Temptations

The TemptationsBy Bob Berry

“…I need rain to disguise the tears in my eyes…”.

Nobody sang a “pain” song than David Ruffin.

“Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, “Since I Lost My Baby”, “I Know I’m Losing You”, David’s last song with the Tempts, “It’s You That I Need”, and more.

But above all, stands “I Wish It Would Rain“.

From Earl Van Dyke’s opening notes on the Motown Steinway, to the very tasty and restrained track by The Funk Brothers , and the incredible blend of the background vocals , “Rain” is a great track. And then..

Sunshine, blue skies, please go away, My girl has found another, and gone away..”.

Nobody sang a “pain” song like David Ruffin.

Sunday Brunch celebrates The Motown Sound with the original “Fab Five”.

Oct 4th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

The Friday Song Doin’ The Philly And Boogaloo Too!

NobodyBy Bob Berry

One of the great things about writing the Keener blog is the chance to share with you my passions, be it cars, music, movies, or a good friend’s birthday.

That said, today’s Keener Friday Song goes out with a dedication to my pal Cactus Jack, the forever young leader of  Florida’s best party band, Cactus Jack And The Cadillacs.

The boys and I go back some 15 years, and from time to time I ended up playing tambourine (fairly well) and singing backups (terribly) on their version of “Nobody But Me”, the Human Beinz song from 1968.

Fun? Ridiculous fun. And I just knew all those years of playing “Nobody” and beating up a dashboard, or a control room counter top would payoff someday!

B2 Band 1

My bud Cactus had a small health issue recently, as have a couple of the other guys in the band. Suffice to say all is well, and the band will be rockin’ this weekend. So on the off-chance you’re in Eustis, Florida and a crazy guy in a zebra stripe jacket ( or a red vest) asks you to sit in with the band, here’s your chance to practice.

Enjoy the Friday Song, a monster one-hit wonder with The Human Beinz on Keener!


Oct 2nd, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

TBT The Keener Connection to American Pie

DonMcLeanBy Bob Berry

It’s truly one of the most remarkable songs in rock and roll history.

8 and a half minutes long, with a ton of complicated lyrics (but a nice chorus); and if it was on “Rate A Record“, it only got a 79, because you can’t dance to it.

“American Pie”, written by Don McLean, released in late November of 1971, by early 1972 it was Number One (as was his album of the same name) with a bullet. And stayed there for 4 weeks!

And all the while we wondered: who was the King, who was the jester? A song referring to the Book of Marx and a fall-out shelter? What?

Enter Bob Dearborn of WCFL/Chicago. As the story goes, Bob’s listeners had been asking for his insight, or analysis of the lyrics. And simple as that, with a lot of listening, and 5 typewritten pages, his amazing interpretation of “American Pie” was born. And distributed to over 100,000 listeners!

As for the Keener connection? We knew Bob as Mark Allen, who came to Keener  in 1968, replacing Sean Conrad on the 7-10pm shift. Bob/Mark later moved to mornings (with distinguished success) thru early 1970, when he migrated to the Windy City.

It’s Don McLean’s birthday tomorrow (10/2). We at Keener thank him for ensuring the memory of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper.

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Oct 1st, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

A Little Ditty In The Nick Of Time

MellencampBy Bob Berry

I guess the music business can be like going to a casino. If you’re gonna hit, you may as well hit big.

At least that’s the way it worked for John (Cougar) Mellencamp, 24 years ago this week.

Mellencamp, who was in need of a hit, and a big one at that, got just that when his little ditty about “Jack and Diane” and the album American Fool both hit Number One; saving his record deal, and launching a career that placed him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

John Mellencamp, who along with Willie Nelson and Neil Young, was one of the founders of Farm Aid. The 30th Anniversary concert was held two weeks ago, highlighted by a a great set by Mr. Mellencamp. We at Keener 13 applaud his efforts, and thought you would enjoy his performance.



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Sep 30th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

A Double Hall Of Fame Inductee

Blues ImageBy Bob Berry

Air Guitar Hall Of Fame?  Check.

One-Hit Wonder Hall of Fame?  Check and Double-Check.

Top 5 in the spring and early summer of 1970.? Triple check.

Just pick up that sweet “Strat” you have by the desk, and loosen up on the solo bridge at about 1:50.

And then join Birthday Boy Mike Pinera, lead singer of Tampa, Florida’s Blues Image and co-writer of “Ride Captain Ride”, on one of the great air guitar moments of all-time at about 3:14.

Love those power chords, even if you’re ripping off Pete Townsend’s windmill move!



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Sep 29th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Sunday Brunch On The Poor Side Of Town

Johnny RiversBy Bob Berry

A dear friend of mine is celebrating a birthday this weekend, and this happens to be one of her favorite songs.

Mine, too. Pretty much since the first time I heard it.

Johnny Rivers wrote it, and cut it live with the Wrecking Crew trio of Hal Blaine on drums, Joe Osborne on bass and Larry Knechtel on keyboards. Then, the real genius moment happened, and The Blossoms overdubbed an unmistakable-and unforgettable, backup vocals:

“Do-doo-doo-wah shoo-be-doo-be…”

Jenni, the spotlight is on you and Jim. Enjoy Slow Dance Number One for Sunday Brunch on Keener.

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Sep 27th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

The Friday Song From Freda Payne

FredaPayneBy Bob Berry

When I was researching Motown’s #1’s of September, 1970, I neglected to mention another Detroit gem that was Number One for six weeks. In the United Kingdom!

It was “Band Of Gold“, and it was about a “Detroit” as a record could be.

Sung by The D’s Freda Payne with backup vocals by Joyce Wilson and Thelma Hopkins (who soon became Dawn, with Tony Orlando). Written (under the pseudonym Edythe Wayne) by Motown legends Holland-Dozier-Holland, with members of the Funk Brothers including Dennis Coffey, Bob Babbitt, and Uriel Jones on the track. Recorded in Detroit and released on HDH’s new Invictus label.

If it was anymore Detroit, each 45 would have come with a coupon for a Lafayette or American Coney Island!

Released in the summer of 1970, here’s “Band of Gold”, the Friday Song on Keener!

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Sep 25th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener