Monday, January 2, 2017

50 Years Ago this Month – January 1967

1967 spun Rock & Roll music on its ear, as the new FM radio stations spun us on our ears. Far out, man.

Sonny and Cher assured us “The Beat Goes On” (up to #13 on the KFRC/San Francisco survey, January 18, 1967), but this year spearheaded the second phase of 1960’s Rock music battle between love and war, with epic, intricate beats.

Not just a little influenced by psychedelia, Rock music rose to new heights—literally and figuratively.

By the end of the month, West Coast counterculture bands had donated their time and music to the first San Francisco Hare Krishna fundraising concert. Historic, not only because of its mind-expanding highs but the incredible, mind-blowing music.

Headlining the Avalon Ballroom for the Mantra-Rock Dance (January 29th) were Psychedelic Rock innovators, Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, and Big Brother and the Holding Company. The event also featured LSD advocate, Timothy Leary. Go figure.

Live music and AM radio’s tunes weren’t much in sync, though, as January radio surveys still reflected soft love songs, albeit tinged with an edgier electronic guitar. The Airplane’sMy Best Friend” hit #10 on KFRC’s Big 30 (January 28, 1967), but it was just a hint of their more surrealistic sounds coming up.

Climbing the chart to truly kick off the Psychedelic Rock year, we find The Electric Prunes at #26, admitting, “I Had too much to Dream Last Night.” Yeah, baby.

Thanks to upstart FM stations like KMPX/San Francisco and KPPX/Los Angeles (think Tom and Raechel Donahue) along with live performances, the month, ended turning guitar solos and love ballads into mind-twisting musical experiences.

*And into the night you'll fade, knowing you lost the game | And just how she got her name of | The Snow Queen

Welcome to January 1967! Happy New Year 50 Years Ago this Month!

Featured Radio Survey: This month I have to go outside the BFYP vintage survey collection. Darn. Can’t believe I don’t have any January 1967 radio charts. However, one of my fave research sites is the Airheads Radio Survey Archives ... what I don’t have, they do … and then some! Enjoy the KFRC/San Francisco Big 30 chart list for January 28, 1967 here; but if you love retro Rock & Roll, you must visit their searchable site. It’s awesome!

Celebrate JANUARY 1967: 50 Years Ago … Rock On!

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* “The Snow Queen” by Roger Nichols & The Small Circle of Friends, #14,January 28, 1967, KFRC/San Francisco Big 30.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

50 Years Ago this Month – December 1966

50 Plus 10 = 1956 

Wow—how did we get here?! Not only another year gone, but … 50 Years Ago this Month!!

Searching for December 1966 radio and music news and views, turned up a rather placid time in Rock Radio.

The top five songs on KFRC/San Francisco’s “Big 30” (12/14/66) for example, glorified and vilified love—nothing new there.

Hearts on a string, we were singing along with the top three pop tunes: 1) “I’m a Believer” (Monkees); 2) “Winchester Cathedral” (New Vaudeville Band); and 3) “Tell It Like It Is” (Aaron Neville). A-vo-dee-oh-doe!!

But every December, here at Blast from Your Past, we choose to celebrate the birthing day of Alan Freed (December 15, 1921)—the “father of Rock & Roll Radio DJs.”

This month, we add ten years to our 50 Years Ago this Month writings to venerate Mr. Freed. We owe our fifty years-plus-ten mantra to the man who first thundered, “Let’s Rock & Roll!!”?

1955’s Blackboard Jungle film, which featured Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock, inspired tons of teens to dance in the theater aisles.

Hot off its success, Mr. Freed appeared in two iconic Rock & Roll films the following year, Rock Around the Clock (March), and Rock, Rock, Rock (December).

As it’s said on Wiki, “In the 1956 film Rock, Rock, Rock, Freed tells the audience that ‘Rock and Roll is a river of music that has absorbed many streams: rhythm and blues, jazz, rag time, cowboy songs, country songs, folk songs. All have contributed to the big beat.’"

And the beat goes on* … Thank you, Mr. Freed.

Featured Radio Survey: The closest KFRC’s December 1966 chart came to offering a 1956 Rockin’ song sound-alike was at #5, Mitch Ryder’s “Devil with the Blue Dress On.” The rest of the chart lineup went like this

Celebrate DECEMBER 50 Years Ago … and Rock On!

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* Sonny and Cher hit the January 1967 charts with “The Beat Goes On.” See ya 50 Years Ago 2017!

 Grab some Old "Time" Rock & Roll for yourself and your Rockin' friends on Santa's list, at Blast from Your Past Gifts! Fun stuff for everyone ... Rock On!

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

50 Years Ago this Month – November

Coming of Age with the Age of Aquarius 

Raise your hand—how many of you Boomers came of voting age in November 1966? 50 Years Ago this Month we found it tough to apply politics to the late 1960s’ New Age philosophies and ethereal Age of Aquarius. So we turned to music …

In November 1966 we voted The Beach Boys to the top of the charts with “Good Vibrations,” and spent our evenings exploring pop psychology rather than politics, to Donovan’sMellow Yellow.” Radio charts reflected our chaotic minds.

Logging a short stint at KBLA/Los Angeles, pioneering Rock DJ, “Humble Harve” Miller, waxed our ears with vinyl tunes that ran the gamut from “Winchester Cathedral” (at #3, New Vaudeville Band) to the anything-but-weepy “96 Tears” (at #7, ? & the Mysterians).

So, what was your fave November ’66 song? “Don’t Keep Me Hangin’ On” (at #2, The Supremes)—take a hike down Memory Lane and let me know the path you took! Post ‘em at Blast From Your Past – Let’s Rock!

Beneath the surface in 1966, however, the vibrations were anything but mellow. In two short years we would vote in another contentious election. “The presidential election of 1968 was one of the most chaotic in American history, reflecting a time that was in many ways equally chaotic,” says John Gardner of

Two assassinations (Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy) and the Vietnam war, colored the field and left us with few palatable choices. Sigh—is “change” a myth?

Featured Radio Survey: KBLA was a vibrant force for the Los Angeles Rock scene, November 1966. Apparently rich and successful, they were even giving away a Rolls Royce! At least, that’s what their November 14, 1966 “Super 30”survey said ...

Celebrate NOVEMBER 50 Years Ago … and Rock On!


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