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Meet “Debby Endings”

It’s 1961 and 16-year-old California native Debby Sharron is about to realize her dream.  Blessed with a wonderful voice, she will soon be entering a recording studio to sing two songs that will comprise her very first 45 rpm record. Debby’s father, a Rabbi, is not as enthused about the upcoming event.  When he discovers the date falls on a religious holiday, he forbids Debby from attending the recording session.

Enter Shari Lesser, a high school friend who drives Debby to Conway Studios in Hollywood. Crying all the way and visibly upset by the time she arrives, Debby has to fight back the tears, compose herself and sing her songs.  The producer for this session is Shel Talmy, a young man who had worked at the studio for just three days prior to this session.  The “A” side was “Falling Star” and the “B” side was “Cruel Way To Be” which was actually written by the young Mr. Talmy.  Within six months, Shel Talmy would go to England and try his luck producing British artists. Debby is pleased with the songs and hopes that when her parents hear how well she can sing, they will allow her to pursue her dream of being a singing star.

As often happened back then, religious beliefs and traditional family values triumphed over dreams.  Debby’s father forbade her from being a singing star.  His plan was for her to marry young and start a family.  Her songs could be found on Bamboo records #516.  It was her first and last recording session.  Per her family’s plan, she was married shortly after graduating from High School and in six short years was the mother of four.  She stopped singing and lost that precious 45 on the Bamboo label.  Ironically, while on her honeymoon, she heard “Falling Star” on a jukebox.  She discovered that sheet music had been released and the song was doing very well in Philadelphia.  There are simply not enough adjectives to describe Debby’s despair.

Chicago native Shel Talmy on the other hand, achieved his production goals “across the pond” beyond his wildest dreams.  You may think you’ve never heard of Shel, but you probably purchased MANY of the records he produced while in England.  Here are some classics he produced for the Kinks and the Who:

  • You Really Got Me
  • All Day And All Of The Night
  • Tired Of Waiting For You
  • Set Me Free
  • Sunny Afternoon
  • Dedicated Follower Of Fashion
  • I Can’t Explain
  • My Generation
  • The Kids Are Alright

Shel also worked with the Bachelors, Chad & Jeremy, Manfred Mann, the Fortunes and Davy Jones & the Mannish boys, whose lead singer pursued a solo career using the name David Bowie.   In 2003 a tribute to Shel Talmy was aired on the radio program Little Steven’s Underground Garage.  Shel currently resides in the Los Angeles area and still does production work.  You can find him at http://www.sheltalmy.com/

Debby eventually forgave her father and went on to become a very successful business woman.  Her teenage marriage ended in divorce, but she is now remarried to Ken Bitticks with the added bonus of three additional children.  Debby doesn’t remember exactly when she lost her 45, but that loss would come back to haunt her.  In 2001, Debby’s father became ill and she decided to provide care for him at her home.  It was during the care giving years that followed  with the help of one her daughters, Lynn Benson, Debby created “the BioBinder” which would lead to her life’s work. The intent was to capture the memories of her father’s life so future generations could know him.  She learned about his teenage years in Germany and escaping from the Nazi’s and coming to America.  She began to understand his decision to become a Rabbi and his deep beliefs.  In turn, her father (who was also blessed with an excellent singing voice) came to realize the importance of Debby’s music.  He passed away in 2005 at the age of 89 in her home with his entire family around him.  Life had now come full circle except for one thing.  Her husband, children grandchildren and even her younger sister had never heard her songs.  She had wanted desperately for her father to hear those songs before he died, but at the time, the songs were nowhere to be found.

We now flash forward to 2011 and how I got involved in this unique quest. Debby looked up Shel on the Internet and contacted him.  He said it was the longest time between clients he had ever experienced.  She had hoped he could supply her with her songs, but Shel doesn’t own the 45 either, and the only tape he had from the session had key instrumentation missing.  A unique bond must have been formed 50 years ago, as Shel became a man on a mission to help her find her lost songs.  He enlisted the support of good friend Mike Todd, perhaps as computer knowledgeable as anyone Shel had ever met.  He charged Mike with finding the elusive missing 45.

Mike Todd is the founder of the Internet Society, Los Angeles Chapter.  His background includes projects with industry giants Bill Gates and Peter Norton.  Mike must have been amazed when his search was met with an immediate hit.  It took him to a database of songs we have played on our “specialty shows” at songsyoushouldhaveheard.com.  My good friend and co-host on TUNEDEX MEMORIES, Frank Kramer played BOTH SIDES of the 45 on two different shows back in 2006.  After I got the email from Mike, I called him and explained that Frank had sold the record, but we could send .mp3’s immediately and I would make CD’s for both Debby and Shel.  Within 10 minutes, Shel called me to thank me for helping and how important it would be to Debby just to hear her songs again. I was very impressed with the compassion I felt from this highly successful man for the crushed young girl whose project he produced back in 1961.

I sent the .mp3’s to Debby and Mike (who forwarded them to Shel). I soon got a call from Ken Bitticks who confirmed that they had received them.  A very emotional Debby then got on the line and thanked me profusely and I began to understood how important it was for her to hear these songs again.  Ironically, Debby had no idea that Shel Talmy had written “Cruel Way To Be”.  Ah technology! who could have believed that an email with .mp3 files could produce such joy! I promised her (as I had told Shel) that we would look for the record and get back to her if we found one.  As luck would have it, the same day, Frank found a copy of the record from a  dealer located within 15 minutes of my house.  It was advertised as not in the best of shape, but Frank bought it and waited patiently.    While Shel would love to have a copy also, it was unanimously decided that Debby would benefit the most from owning her long lost record.  I assured Shel that Frank and I would continue to look for a copy for him also.

I prepared a package of CD’s for Debby (which included extra copies for her kids so they could listen to their mom singing whenever they were near a CD player.  I made a CD for Shel and the very next day, Frank sent the long lost 45 to Debby.

Debby called Frank to thank him for the record and he could sense in her
voice how important it was to have this record once again in her possession.  Debby’s daughters are thrilled and her grandchildren think it’s awesome that their “Grandma Debby” was a really cool teenager with a rockin’ voice.  Two of her grandsons already have loaded the songs on their IPODS and sing the songs on the way to school.  The joy is spreading throughout her family and  friends because everyone loves the songs.  You can hear Debby’s songs on TUNEDEX MEMORIES at http://songsyoushouldhaveheard.com

Debby’s grandchildren always tease her because she likes movies with happy
endings – so they call them “Debby Endings”.  This is the PERFECT
DEBBY ENDING!

If you have a relative who is in extended care and would like to know more about the “BioBinder” you can read about it at Debby Sharron Bittick’s website http://www.delphihealthproducts.com/

If you have a spare copy of Bamboo 516, you can make Shel Talmy a happy man.  Send me an email to chuck@songsyoushouldhaveheard.com

Chuck Benjamin

P.S.  I’m happy to report that Debby and Shel got together for dinner recently and spent some time reminiscing about the recording session, the lost 45 and catching up after FIFTY years!

 

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2011 in Chuck's thoughts...

 

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The ROOTS of TUNEDEX MEMORIES

I have produced “specialty” shows dedicated to the passion and innocence of the 50’s and 60’s since 1998. However, I’m not a radio veteran. I’m just a guy who has loved music as far back as I can remember, and enjoys sharing that music with others.

Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio I was never far from a radio, and stations like WHK, WERE, and KYW provided the musical backdrop to my formative years. When I want to go back to grade school, junior high or high school memories, there’s always hundreds of songs to take me there.

After I turned 21, and left the Air Force and the Vietnam conflict behind me, I chose a career in the Computer industry, and for the next 40 years or so, collecting music was used as the psychological release I needed from the tension of my job and raising four children. My qualifications as a “collector” include having EVERY song to hit the Billboard Hot 100 since 1955. In 1998 I developed and hosted my first radio show, “the Innocent Age” with the intention of sharing as many of those songs as possible. While I developed a good base of local listeners, I quickly discovered the power of the Internet and soon had listeners all over the country and world-wide.

Two years later, I expanded my show production to twice a week, as my show was added to a Cleveland AM oldies station. I also began to realize the tremendous sense of accomplishment I enjoyed from the producers chair. I developed a weekly Computer show and programmed a 24/7 Country Internet station. Then the music industry flexed it’s muscles, and intimidated many webcasters into abandoning their stations. My station dropped streaming and a few months later changed formats and before I knew what had happened, my show and creativity was darkened.

I stayed involved with production projects like “Dedications from Home” which was a website I developed that allowed U.S. Servicemen deployed around the world to hear messages and song requests from loved ones during the Holidays. I observed from the sidelines as Web radio began to explode once again. The music industry continues to cast shadows on everyone’s efforts, but I decided in 2005 it was time to try again. Cornelius Gould, a local streamer, generously offered a time slot, and I was back on the air, playing what I wanted to play and loving every minute.

I soon enlisted the help of two very good friends who just happened to also be extraordinary music collectors. With our mutual accomplishments, wealth of knowledge and accessibility to music, we offer a musical excursion like no other. The love and passion for the music we play is something Frank Kramer and Steve Petryszyn share with me. We then had the good fortune to meet Kenny Schreiber, who agreed to allow us to re-broadcast shows from his 12 year run of “Echoes of the Past” a marvelous Doo Wop show based in his home town of Baltimore. There are songs we play that are SO GOOD, you can almost hear us singing along. That’s our goal, to get you happy and carefree once again. If you give us a chance, we’ll take you back to a time when you didn’t have a care in the world.

Chuck Benjamin

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2008 in Chuck's thoughts...

 

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Tom Burdyshaw (1947-2008) “Tom from Garfield Heights”

I regret to inform my listeners that “Tom from Garfield Heights” has lost his battle with cancer.  Long time “loyal listeners” heard his name weekly for many years.  I began “the Innocent Age” approximately 10 years ago, and Tom found out about the show in April, 1989 at Steve Petryszyn’s Parma Record Convention.  He was excited about the show, but lived too far North of the station to be able to pick it up.  Later that year, we started broadcasting on the Internet, but Tom didn’t have a computer.  I sent him 2 cassettes every week for almost three years.  He would listen to the show and call me with his comments, which included his favorites and most shows contained at least 10 or 12 tunes he had never heard before.  That pattern continued week after week.  He came over a few times, and we would spend the entire time sharing music, just as I usually did with Steve and Frank Kramer.  Tom had the same passion for this music as the three of us did and it was a joy seeing the twinkle in his eye when he heard those “songs you should have heard” for the first time.

Tom had a fairly extensive collection of 45’s that he kept buying into the late 80’s.  Ironically, our mutual taste seemed to match as we talked about 70’s and 80’s music we liked as well.  Work schedules and family demands kept us from getting together very often, but we talked on the phone often.  If I found a really good CD, I’d let him know and he would go to the same store and buy it on my suggestion.  He was a good and genuine man.  I was devastated when I heard he had been diagnosed with cancer.  Not because I didn’t think he could beat this horrible disease, but because he simply didn’t deserve the pain and fear it takes to deal with it.  My wife has been cancer free for five years, but Steve Petryszyn lost his wife Sher after a five year battle.

I didn’t have much contact with Tom’s wife Liz other than to speak with her on the phone, but she knew how much music meant to Tom.  Tom’s entire family was with him the day he died.  While I never got a chance to say goodbye, his daughter Kimberly told me one of my shows was playing in the background when he passed.

I will miss Tom’s passion.  When I told him I wanted to some “nostalgia” on the station which included some vintage commercials if I could find them.  He called me back a few days later and read off over a hundred he thought would work.  I was able to find about 70 of those and the comprise the backbone of my “nostalgic” cuts.

Last year about this time, I brought him a tray of candy bars to keep his strength up.  Tom and I both shared a fondness for “Sky Bars” – a candy bar from our youth.  I found a place locally where I could buy a box of 24 took them over to him for Halloween.  I told his wife Liz that if she visits Tom at the cemetery and finds a Sky Bar, she’ll know I stopped by to say hello to him.

I am dedicating the Innocent Age running from November 10th through the 16th to Tom’s memory.  All the songs I’ll play on that show will be Tom’s favorites over the 9 years he listened to the show.  I’m hoping when people hear these songs in the future they’ll think of “Tom from Garfield Heights”…..

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2008 in Rest In Peace

 

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Please sign our GUEST BOOK…

Please sign our Guest Book

Please sign our Guest Book

Whether you read our blog, or if you’re a current or past  listener of Tunedex Memories, we would very much like to know WHO you are and WHERE you’re from.

Please sign our Guest Book.  If  you have feedback, comments or questions, here’s a great way to let us know and share with others.

Just post a reply below and always, always – tell your friends about our station!

Chuck Benjamin

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2008 in Chuck's thoughts...

 

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The Death Of Another Summer…

I recently watched a great little movie called “The Final Season”, about a High School that succumbed to a merger due to cost savings. This school happened to have a GREAT baseball team, one that won TWENTY state championships. But, in the end, they were dissolved anyway. Kind of a sign of the times for America today, light on tradition and heavy on the bottom line.

The passion and love of the game in these kids took me back to my youth, where my love of baseball began. I didn’t play on that many “organized” teams. My first was the “J.W. Porter’s” a Cleveland Class F team that played at Edgewater Park. We rode our bikes and didn’t mind the 20 minute trip. On the way home, win or lose, we hit the Royal Castle on 105th and Madison for Birch Beer and hamburgers. We played our favorite songs on the counter jukebox and enjoyed our treat for less than a quarter.

I played a lot of wiffle ball during this time as well. We’d use cut down broomstick for bats, much like stickball. The thin stick made it harder to hit fast balls, but the length really helped with those outside curve balls. Unfortunately, by using wood instead of plastic, it didn’t take long until we broke the ball and until we got a dollar together to get a new ball, we went to our old stand-by, “rubber ball against the wall”.

A square representing the strike zone was painted on the wall. We took everything seriously back then. We had leagues and even kept statistics. I was so angry with the Indians for trading my favorite player, Rocky Colavito, I became the Detroit Tigers, the team he was traded to. As I made out my lineup, I had to be conscious of those left handed batters like Norm Cash, because if a lefty came up, I had to bat left handed myself. I never hit often as a lefty, but when I did, I usually crushed it.

Those rubber balls weren’t taken for granted either. At 25 cents each, we all wanted them to last. We “broke in” a ball for a week or so, everyone needed a little pitching practice anyway. When the ball got a little softer, then it would find it’s way into real games. If you used a brand new ball, the first problem was that it FLEW if you hit it hard and in some cases, it would actually split and chunks of fresh rubber would be strewn all over the playground. I often think of those days and wonder happened to my old “league” friends. Did they make the High School team? I tried out twice and failed. I could hit with anyone, but had poor depth perception which was not good for an outfielder. This is why I love baseball so much… because I played it. Not on a computer screen or a gameboy, but outside in the sun, breeze, rain and whatever else Mother Nature threw at us. What a game…

Which brings me to this year. It’s over…. again… Whether the Indians trade C.C. Sabathia or not, the season is over. Injuries and a horrible hitting slump have robbed me and SO many other frustrated Indians fans for yet another year. I enjoy watching the kids, but I cringe at the “seasoned veterans” that management is so convinced they need. My nightly prayer is the same… Please Lord, let me live long enough to see the Indians win the World Series…

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2008 in Chuck's thoughts...

 

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David Box – Little Lonely Summer Girl

Here’s ONE of the songs on our play list – The Honor Roll of Hits

David Box grew up in Lubbock Texas, home of legendary rocker Buddy Holly.   David got to see Buddy HollyDavid Box perform locally before he hit the National scene and was fascinated by his sound.  Encouraged to sing as young as when he was only three years old, David formed a band called the Ravens which emulated the sound of Buddy Holly.  I added “Little Lonely Summer Girl” to the play list because I remember hearing it on WHK.  I’m also fond of David’s first release on Joed Records, “If You Can’t Say Something Nice” which was co-written by Roy Orbison.  But there’s another song to listen for David’s vocals.  The next time you hear “Peggy Sue Got Married” listen for the lead vocals of David Box.  David was just one of many lead vocalists used by the Crickets who had a sound similar enough to Buddy Holly to make a record.  “Little Lonely Summer Girl” was played and popular in pockets of the country.  In addition to our area, the song was very popular in the Houston area.  He was working with a local band, Buddy & the Kings promoting the record.  On October 23, 1964 on the way to another promotional stop, the plane rented by David and the band went down nose first.  There were no survivors.  David Box was only 21.  Like his hero Buddy Holly, David was taken from us way too soon.  Listen for David Box on Tunedex Memories.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2008 in Honor Roll of Hits

 

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Play List Adds 6/08

New Christy Minstels – Denver A great song that made the Bubbled Under chart at #127 in 1963.

Swinging Blue Jeans – It Isn’t There • A Song You Should Have Heard from 1965.

Jesse Belvin – Guess Who • One half of “Jesse & Marvin” and the co-writer of “Earth Angel” for the Penguins, Jesse released some great material in his short career. He and his wife Jo Ann died tragically in a car accident about a year after this #39 Hot 100 hit in 1959.

Barbara Mason – Come To Me • The Fabulous Flipside of “Sad Sad Girl” on Arctic records in 1965.

Serendipity Singers – Plastic • A very funny and prophetic song that Bubbled Under at #118 in 1965.

Scotland Yardleys – Some Guys Have It • A Song You Should Have Heard on Smash from 1966.

James Darren – Mary’s Little Lamb • A Hot 100 entry from 1962 peaking at #39.

Three Chuckles – We’re Still Holding Hands • With Teddy Randazzo on lead, the group gives us an early Song You Should Have Heard from 1956.

Reparata & the Del Rons – He’s My Guy • The Fabulous Flipside of “Whenever A Teenager Cries”.

Walker Brothers – You’re All Around Me • The Fabulous Flipside of “My Ship Is Comin’ In”.

Matt Monro – Why Not Now • The follow-up to “My Kind Of Girl” this Warwick release barely made the Hot100 at #92 and never getting any higher.

Merry-Go-Round – She’s A Very Lovely Woman • With Emmit Rhodes on lead, this song peaked at #94 on the Hot 100 in 1967. Covered by Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys.

Earl Grant – Not One Minute More • A Song You Should Have Heard released on Decca in 1959 from the man who gave us “The End”.

Smith – Take A Look Around • The follow-up to “Baby It’s You”. With Gayle McCormick on lead, this Johnny Rivers discovered group hit the Hot 100 at #43 back in 1969.

Perry Como – It’s Impossible • One of the top vocalists of the 40’s – Perry scored a #10 Hot 100 hit in 1970 with this beautiful ballad.

Lesley Gore – Lazy Day/98.6 • Lesley turns two songs into one – hit the Adult Contemporary chart in 1969.

Teresa Brewer – Mutual Admiration Society • Topped at #21 on the Hot 100 in 1956 for Teresa.

Four Kings – One Night • A great song you should have heard with a sound reminiscent of the Four Seasons.  Released in 1964 on Canadian-American records.

Chordettes – Zorro • A 1958 Hot 100 tune that will bring back memories of the Walt Disney series.

Jamie Coe – The Fool • The 1963 version on Big Top is a song you should have heard from one of Detroit’s favorite singers.  We now have three songs by Jamie Coe on our play list, the Honor Roll of Hits.

Neil Diamond – Glory Road • One of those outstanding UNI lp cuts that predates the chart “explosion” that brought super star status to Neil.  A non-charting song you should have heard you might have missed.

Sunrays – Bye Baby Bye • A fabulous flipside on Tower – the flip of “I Live For The Sun”

Crispian St. Peters – At This Moment • The arrangement will clearly remind you of Roy Orbison.  This song you should have heard was released in 1965 on the Jamie label.

Crew Cuts – Angels In The Sky • This version hit #11 on the Hot 100 in 1955.  It’s been recorded many, many times and was written by Canton, Ohio native Dick Glasser.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2008 in Play List Additions

 

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