Sunday, March 11, 2012

New Oldies - Daylight Savin' Time by Keith


In honor of this morning's time change, here's Daylight Savin' Time by Keith on Mercury 72695 from 1967:



This song became a Northern Soul favorite, heard frequently during All-Nighters at dance clubs in England. Daylight Savings Time, known as Summer Time in several countries, was first mentioned by Benjamin Franklin in 1784. In 1895, the idea was officially proposed by George Vernon Hudson. But it wasn't actually implemented in America until World War One, and later in other parts of the world. It's never been used in much of central Africa, southeast Asia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and a few other places. It's was used, but has been discontinued, in most of Asia, western and northern Australia, and much of South America. In my humble opinion, it made more sense back in the days when people actually owned farms (as opposed to automated farms operated by giant food corporations). We could probably drop it now and nobody would miss it. If we did drop it, I'd be in favor of leaving us on the advanced summer time, which would just mean it would get dark an hour later in winter. Since I live in a place where it's always summer and the nightlife is incredible, that wouldn't bother me one bit!


Keith was born James Barry Keefer on 7 May 1949 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Atlantic City for a while, then back to the Philadelphia suburb of Clifton Heights. While attending high school, he joined an acapella harmony group called Barry And The Bel-Airs, performing at local dances and variety shows. One Friday night they were working a dance at a Catholic school that was hosted by WCAM Radio DJ Kal Rudman. Kal was an expert at spotting hit record talent. He introduced Keith to Jerry Ross, who was then an A&R man at Columbia Records. According to legend, Keith was so determined to get a recording contract, he camped out at Jerry's door. Whatever he did worked. His first recording contract with Columbia produced one single, Caravan Of Lonely Men b/w Dream, under the name Keith And The Admirations. Unfortunately, that record didn't make the national charts.
Kal was born Soloman "Kal" Rudman on 6 March 1930 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a love of music and radio in his bloodstream. After graduating from Central High School, the second oldest public high school in America, he began attending the University of Pennsylvania. In 1959, he took a job at WCAM Radio in Camden, New Jersey as a disc jockey. He transferred to the Philadelphia College of Osteopathy, but decided not to become a doctor when he was offered a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Children. This enabled him to earn a master's degree in education from Temple University. He began working as a teacher in the daytime, but continued his R&B radio show at night. He gave up teaching after moving to WDAS Radio in Philadelphia where he continued to spin the R&B hits. He also started working for Billboard Magazine as their first R&B editor. In 1968, his amazing ability to predict hit records led him to leave Billboard and begin publishing a weekly tip sheet out of his basement that he called Friday Morning Quarterback, which became a must-read in radio stations around the country. Kal continued working in radio on the side and his popular show was syndicated in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and many other major markets. Later, he did a lot of television shows, and even became the announcer for the World Wrestling Federation. Kal and his wife Lucille became noted philanthropists, creating the Kal And Lucille Rudman Foundation to provide financial support for many causes, primarily in the fields of education and public safety.
Here's Caravan Of Lonely Men by Keith And The Admirations on Columbia 43268 from 1965:



And here's the flip side, Dreams:



When Jerry Ross moved on to Mercury Records, he took Keith along with him. The decision was made to drop the band and refer to him as simply Keith. Not many artists did that. The only others I know about are Fabian, Dion, Lulu, Donovan and Cher. Can you think of any more? Now backed by The Tokens, Keith started putting out hit singles on Mercury, starting with Ain't Gonna Lie, which went to #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1966. His follow-up record, 98.6, shot up to #7 in January 1967. His cover of Tell Me To My Face by The Hollies stopped at #37 on the charts. But today's New Oldie, Daylight Savin' Time, marked Keith's final appearance on the Hot 100, struggling up to only #79 in the summer of 1967. Mercury bundled his hits with some other tracks and put them on Keith's debut album. A couple of singles later Keith made a brief appearance on Billboard's Bubbling Under chart at #135 with a song called I'm So Proud.

Keith was just 18 years old and it looked like the end of his hit-making career, but he had a great run, earning as much as $15,000 a week and touring all over the world. One day while he was visiting London, a man standing next to him at the urinal slapped him on the back and told him that 98.6 was a really great record. That man was John Lennon!

Keith's second album, Out Of Crank, failed to gain any momentum. It seemed things couldn't get any worse, but they did. Keith was arrested for draft evasion in the middle of a concert, inducted into the United States Army, and stationed in New Jersey for a year. After being discharged, Keith hooked up with Frank Zappa and joined his touring band in 1974. You can hear him injecting a little Philadelphia Soul in one of Zappa's more commercial-yet-bizarre tracks, Don't Eat The Yellow Snow. Keith hooked up with RCA Records to make one more album, The Adventures Of Keith. When that failed to do anything, he left the music business. Keith tried a comeback under his real name in 1986, but that also proved to be unsuccessful, although the record company he set up, A.I.R. Records in Redondo Beach, California, managed to produce albums for several local acts.

Bazza Keefer (from 2008)

In 1988, he changed his name to Bazza Keefer in memory of his mother. In the 1990's, a old friend and former band member, Randy Johnson, helped Bazza get into the TV industry as a audio technician for many shows, one of which being Judge Judy. Bazza continued to remain active in the music business, writing and playing songs and doing radio interviews, and plans to publish a book. He has two children, son Jamie and daughter Kristen. Bazza, if you're reading this, I'm just down the road in San Diego. I'd love to come visit you and pick your brain about the music industry! Oh, and I hope you'll check out MusicMaster Oldies where you can still hear every song you ever made during the 1960's.

2 comments:

  1. 98.6 GREATEST SONG EVER

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  2. 98.6 is the GREATEST SONG EVER!!

    ReplyDelete