Wednesday, January 3, 2018

50 Years Ago 6-Cent Stamps +Wolfman Moon January 1968

Happy Retro New Year! It’s January 1968 … Again! 
Ah, the good ol’ days … remember when 1st class postage raised from 5 cents to 6 cents? Oh, we were incensed!

At Blast from Your Past, we spend much time, in "remember when" pasts. There is a reason for that—the 1960s gave us the Golden Age of Rock and Roll Radio—and it’s still fun!

More than that, though, the era nurtured sweeping change, with music mirroring our attitudes. Mid-decade, radio chart Top Tens faded from Bubblegum Pop in ’61, ushering in girl-group sounds like “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” (The Shirelles) #1 at WIP/Philadelphia (January 23, 1961), to January 15, 1968’s #1 spinning at WLS/Chicago, “Bend Me, Shape Me” (American Breed).

Both love songs tugged at the heart strings, but “Tomorrow’s” violin strings were old school, compared to “Bend Me, Shape Me’s” heavy drumbeat and guitar riffs. An upbeat with a downbeat sound, reverberated through our growing pains as a new generation came to terms with war and discrimination. Musically, it lead us straight into the Heavy Metal era.

Heralding the mass manufacturing of portable, transistor models, Radio fought for its relevance, with the infamous boob tube. And like Rock and Roll, it proved Radio will never die. It simply shape-shifts into a different howling animal.

Which brings us to the animal we celebrate every January 21st, regardless of the year. Hint: Is it any wonder he was born under January’s Wolf Moon?!

Robert Weston Smith (January 21, 1938-July 1, 1995), self-described, “Original Rock & Roll Animal,” aka Wolfman Jack, turned a raucous 30 years old in 1968!

The iconic Radio personality is featured in the Blast from Your Past books, to which the series is dedicated. As a man, like all of us humans, Wolfman Jack had his foibles; as a howling Radio DJ and later, television host, he personified the innovation of broadcasting.

In January 1968, Wolfie and business partner, Mo Burton, enjoyed the fruits of their labors established in 1966, with a studio in Hollywood. Taping their shows stateside, they muscled their way over the airwaves of a powerful, towering Radio transmitter in Rosarito, Mexico. Olé!  

From the San Diego border, to Canada and points far East, Wolfman’s crusty voice boomed over XERB/1090’s radio waves and lit rebellious fires in impressionable teens.

Wolfman’s XERB strayed from Rock & Roll, pushing funky and soulful to the top three on its Soul 30 chart, January 3, 1968: #1 “Boogaloo Down Broadway” (Fantastic Johnny C); #2 “Chain of Fools” (Aretha Franklin); #3 “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You” (Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell).

How’s your Boogaloo? Can you dig it! Ah, lay a little Soul on me …Have Mercy!*

Still perfecting his Wolfman persona in 1968, his transformation called for learning to electrify live audiences, in gigs up and down California. Though most comfortable behind the mic, he enjoyed thrilling his listeners. “Most of his fans had ‛never seen anything freaky-deaky like this.’ It was a more exhilarating high for him than any hallucinatory could produce.”** Polishing his stage presence would serve Wolfman Jack well throughout the 1970s. Aoooowwwwwoooo!  

As we strut into this 21st century New Year, take a moment or two for a January 1968 fun flashback, and Enjoy the Moment … Again!

Featured Radio Survey: WLS/Chicago hits the mark January 15, 1968, with a smiling image of BFYP DJ, Ron Riley, once briefly (and reluctantly) known as “Smiley Riley”—well before 1968, Ron lost the goofy personality name and was just a smiling, fun DJ. 50 Years Ago Ron rocked WLS! Were you listening? Recall that awesome day when … 

Celebrate JANUARY 1968: 50 Years Ago and … Rock On!
Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

** From BFYP Book 2, The Swinging Sixties; Wolfman Jack Part 3.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

50 Years Ago Somber & Silly December 1967

Breaking News 12/04/17: Going to be in Hugo, Oklahoma, anytime soon? The Five Americans’ exhibit is a must-see! Get yourself down to the Frisco Depot Museum! And Rock On!

Always News:
BFYP Rock and Roll Radio DJs: Book 1 (1950s) and Book 2 (1960s) ready at Amazon to give the Boomers on your gift list a romp down Memory Lane, to the Golden Age of Rock & Roll Radio! Enjoy the moment ... again.

And now, flip on the mic, let’s Rock On back to 1967 …

Somber & Silly December ‘67!

Normally a happy time on the radio, we begin December 50 Years Ago this Month with the worst music news since the 1959 airplane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. Think “That’ll Be the Day,” “La Bamba,” and “Chantilly Lace.” Iconic songs of early Rock & Roll.

On December 10th, Otis Redding and four of his six backup artists (Bar-Kays) perished in yet another devastating R&R airplane accident. This time, in Lake Monona (Madison, Wisconsin), after a performance in Cleveland.

Redding just had had two Top Ten tunes in July, “Tramp” & “Shake” (XERB 07/16/67 chart). But they were dwarfed by one of his iconic songs that captured our hearts, as described by

“‛Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay’ would be released in its ‛unfinished’ form several weeks later, with Redding’s whistled verse a seemingly indispensable part of the now-classic record. It would soon become history’s first posthumous #1 hit and the biggest pop hit of Redding’s career.”

Later in the month, as The Beatles’ “Hello, Goodbye” begins its farewell tour down the chart in many cities, McCartney is upset about the showing of Magical Mystery Tour, by BBC1 on December 26th.  

Here we are in the early stages of psychedelia, with a movie personifying its vivid, swirling colors, and BBC1 chooses to show it in black-and-white. Hello 1930s! Mr. McCartney was less than pleased. BBC2 picked it up and ran it in all its glorious color, to welcome the new year, January 5, 1968.

Featured Radio Survey: The Beatles’ “Hello, Goodbye” is still at the top of KHJ/Los Angeles’s Boss 30 Records—50 Years Ago for December 13, 1967. Two weeks later, it had managed to hang in at #2, but Itchycoo Park (Small Faces) muscled in and claimed the top spot into the New Year, on KHJ’s December 27th chart. Recall that awesome day when … 

Celebrate DECEMBER 1967: 50 Years Ago and … Rock On!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

50 Years Ago Say Hello to NOV 1967

Breaking News 11/04/17: November—the month of giving. Oh, you thought that was next month for Christmas? Charity starts at home, with Thanksgiving. Not just a meal for family and friends, but to help others who may not have your good fortune, and/or those who suffered great losses this year. Give—it’s better for your heart health than Grandma’s pumpkin pie.

Always News: BFYP Rock and Roll Radio DJs: Book 1 (1950s) and Book 2 (1960s) ready at Amazon to walk you down Memory Lane, to the Golden Age of Rock & Roll Radio! Enjoy the moment ... again.

And now, flip on the mic, let’s Rock On back to 1967 …

Don’t Say Goodbye! I Say Helloooo … to the Holidays!

Time to roam around those memory banks and spin your radio dial to Chicago, November 1967. Were you a WLS fan, listening to the friendly jokes and antics of Ron Riley? Or did Jim Stagg’s high energy music knowledge and celeb-artist friends hold your radio dial at WCFL?

Jim’s knack for selecting winning artists and songs to break out on WCFL, made its mark in Chicagoland; but The Beatles weren’t even in the top ten when WLS debuted their “Hello, Goodbye” at #22, November 24th. By December 15th it topped WLS’ Silver Dollar Survey.

Although WCFL awarded the “Mystery Tour” album a showing on their “Chicago Premier” list in mid-November, fans didn’t send it to the top of their Sound Ten Survey until Christmas week. “You say why, and I say, I don’t knowwww …” ♪

“Hello, Goodbye” joined other soon-to-be iconic songs like “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “All You Need is Love,” and “Penny Lane,” to round out the truly Magical Mystery Tour album (officially released November 27th).

Featured Radio Survey(s): Want to see more from these two powerhouse ‘60s stations? This month we feature TWO 50 Years Ago surveys! Check out WLS and WCFL’s full charts for mid-month, November 1967, and recall that awesome day when … 

Celebrate NOVEMBER 1967: 50 Years Ago and … Rock On!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

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