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Pittsburgh Rock ’N Roll Legends Awards: Who should get them and why they don't make sense

Written by Scott Mervis on .

Sadly, there are no Pittsburgh artists in the actual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so it wasn't a bad idea for someone to create a Pittsburgh Rock ’N Roll Hall of Fame, even if it is just a plaque at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Last year, the founding organization, created as charity event for the Cancer Caring Center (so we can't be too critical), got off on a weird note, inducting promoter/drummer Rich Engler, a great guy and great contributor to the Pittsburgh music scene, but one who did not start making an impact until around 1970 -- a decade and a half after the birth of rock 'n' roll.

In April, the event returns as the Pittsburgh Rock ’N Roll Legends Awards, having had to change its name to avoid legal action from the folks in Cleveland.

This time, the ceremony will have three inductees, one each from the following categories:

• Non-performer/music professional (individuals with 20+ years in the business)

• Legacy Legends (groups or solo artists with 40+ years in the business)

 Modern Era Legends (groups or solo artists with 20+ years in the business)

An academy of hundreds will choose the nominees and then a bigger panel and the general public will get the final vote. (The party will be April 23 at the Hard Rock Cafe.)

So, how does this shake out?

porkyNon-Performer: This category is straight-forward and so is the inductee: The music scene here all starts with Porky Chedwick, who died last March at 96. I don't think we have to review the impact of this WAMO/WHOD DJ who went against the tide and played records by black artists, flipped b-sides and revolutionized teen culture in Pittsburgh. If Porky doesn't get it, we can all have a good laugh.

Legacy Legends: Clear mission here: Start at the beginning. The first artists to break out of Pittsburgh in the rock 'n' roll era were the Del-Vikings, with "Come Go With Me," in 1956. Even better, they were the rare racially integrated group in that era. But they were Air Force guys from other places, all stationed at the airport, and they didn't last long, so perhaps they aren't the best representation of Pittsburgh. beaumontWhat then? Jump to the Skyliners, who hit the charts in 1959 with "Since I Don't Have You." Not exactly rock 'n' roll as we imagine it, but certainly in the ballpark. Golden-voiced Jimmy Beaumont, a quiet, unassuming guy, is still active with the group and would likely be happy to show up to accept the award.

Modern Era Legends: Uh-oh. What a fine mess we have here. What the Legends people are saying is, "Screw it, we don't want to go in order. And we need some young people at this party." (Even though the tickets are $150 to $200). It would mean potentially that The Clarks and Rusted Root, for example, get a plaque before that whole generation of The Jaggerz (with Donnie Iris, "The Rapper," 1970), Iron City Houserockers, Frank Czuri (Silencers), Norman Nardini, Billy Price, etc., who quality as Legacy Legends -- but, chronologically, should have to wait for Lou Christie, The Marcels, The Vogues. jaggerzWhat's the incentive of inducting the Jaggers/Houserockers as Modern Era Legends when they fit the other category? Basically, I can't wrap my brain around the logic of this Modern Era Legends award, but my guess is that it gets The Clarks in the room (nothing against The Clarks). Maybe Donnie Iris and Joe Grushecky can present them with the award.

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Fitzgerald makes good on promise to sell SUV

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette)

By Molly Born

Buy a new car recently? You could be driving the SUV that drove Rich Fitzgerald to the brink with Chelsa Wagner last fall.

The 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee once issued to the Allegheny County executive was sold at auction last month for $4,900 after he turned over the keys in...

Read more http://earlyreturns.post-gazette.com/home/early-returns-posts/6426-fitzgerald-makes-good-on-promise-to-sell-suv

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Allegheny County unloads Fitzgerald's SUV

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette)

By Molly Born

Buy a new car recently? You could be driving the SUV that drove Rich Fitzgerald to the brink with Chelsa Wagner last fall.

The 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee once issued to the Allegheny County executive was sold at auction last month for $4,900 after he turned over the keys in...

Read more http://earlyreturns.post-gazette.com/home/early-returns-posts/6426-allegheny-county-unloads-fitzgerald-s-suv

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Billy Knight, Tom Richards head PBC Hall of Fame class

Written by Mike White on .

Forty-five years ago, a kid from Braddock scored 41 points in a WPIAL basketball playoff game. The kid went on to be an All-American at Pitt and played a long time in the NBA.

That 41-point effort by Billy Knight still stands today as the most points scored in a WPIAL Class AA playoff game. The "kid" is now 62 and will be back in Pittsburgh this weekend to be honored as one of the new inductees in the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame.

Induction ceremonies will take place tomorrow at the DoubleTree Hotel near the Pittsburgh airport. John Giammarco runs the Pittsburgh Basketball Club and on Sunday, Giammarco will stage the Pittsburgh Basketball Classic, a five-game event at Montour. The event has some of the top teams in the WPIAL and features a 4:30 game between Chartiers Valley and Lincoln Park.

Billy KnightAs for Knight  (pictured during his Pitt days), he had that memorable playoff performance in 1970. He was a 6-foot-6 forward for Braddock High and his 41 points led the team to a 79-63 victory over Penn Joint in a WPIAL quarterfinal game at Greensburg High. The playoff game was in the Class B tournament, which is now the equivalent of Class AA.

The win put Braddock into the semifinals three days later against Mohawk at the Civic Arena. Ambridge played Clairton in the second game of the doubleheader that drew 9.147 fans. Knight was super again for Braddock, scoring 30 points and grabbing 29 rebounds, but Braddock lost to Mohawk, 69-56.

Knight went on to a great career at Pitt, leading the Panthers to the Elite 8 in 1974. After Pitt, he played two years in the ABA and nine in the NBA. Twice he averaged over 20 points a game in the NBA.

Another player who will be inducted into the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame was a teammate of Knight on the 1974 Pitt team. Tom Richards was a terrific player at Moon High School before going on to play at Pitt.

Richards, a guard, averaged 32.3 points a game as a senior at Moon. He also had one of the most memorable games in WPIAL history as a senior. On Feb. 18, 1972, on his final home game, Richards poured in 63 points in a 108-91 victory against Beaver.

Richards (pictured during his Pitt days) shot 45 times that night, but made 27. The 63 points ties for the third-most in WPIAL history. Larry Hardesty of Mohawk has the record with 71 in a 1959 game. Micah Mason of Highlands scored 64 in 2011. Besides Richards' 63, Sam Sims of German Township also scored 63 in 1959.

Richards will long be remembered as one of the WPIAL's best guards. I will always remember him as my great coach and great teacher of the game at Pitt's Play Basketball Day Camp at the Pitt Field House when I was a kid many moons ago in 1975. 

Other players who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame under the "Legends" category will be Wilkinsburg's Bruce Atkins, Aliquippa's Myron Walker, Mt. Lebanon's Tony DeCello, Upper St. Clair's Joe David (now Mt. Lebanon's coach) and Point Park's Bobby Franklin.

Coaches who will be inducted are Aliquippa's Red McNie, Beaver Falls' Frank Chan, Sto-Rox girls coach Bill Palermo, Bishop Canevin's Jack Burik, deceased Beaver Falls coach Dave Podbielski and John Sikora of the Pittsburgh Steelwheelers.

Contributors who will be inducted are Dave Ambrose, Ray Morton, Jim Hoy and Nello Giammarco. 

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New batch of SAG presenters

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

325sagstatue

Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o, Jeff Goldblum, Matthew Beard, Colin Farrell, Emmy Rossum, Andy Samberg, Liev Schreiber and Reese Witherspoon have been added to the list of presenters for the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday.

They join already announced Patricia Arquette, Adrien Brody, Ellar Coltrane Kevin Costner, Laverne Cox, Bryan Cranston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Eric Dane, Viola Davis, Carrie Fisher, Ethan Hawke, SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard, Felicity Jones, Rashida Jones, Michael Keaton, Lenny Kravitz, Lorelei Linklater, Matthew McConaughey, Matt McGorry, Edward Norton, Eddie Redmayne, Tony Revolori, Julia Roberts, J.K. Simmons and Emma Stone.

The show will be on both TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25.

Photo by Rob Latour/Invision/AP

 

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