Monday, October 2, 2017

50 Years Ago All Hallows Love Oct 1967


Breaking News Thursday, 10/12/17: This Halloween, think about giving in terms of donations (or even gift cards) to those who will have a tough time getting in the Holiday spirit. From hurricanes, to earthquakes, to a mass shooting, and now massive, devastating wildfires ... give someone a reason to smile.

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 for your trip down Memory Lane …

Bubbly Brew of Love Songs & Inner Demons

While this month’s Featured Survey design fits right in with the spooky Halloween month, its list of hit songs was less than ghostly or ghastly for October 1967.

KACY/Santa Barbara, California’s October 6, 1967 top ten gives us frothy love song, “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie,” by Jay & the Techniques at #6, and somehow The Box Tops bounced “The Letter” all the way up to #1. ♪ Well, she wrote me a letter | Said she couldn't live without me no more ♪ … Uh-huh.

So were sappy (but sweet) love songs the only hits 50 Years Ago this Month? Nah. Bad-boy band, The Doors urged us to look at the weirdos inside us, and our creepy neighbors, in “People Are Strange,” clawing its way up the chart at lucky #13. It hit #4 the following week where it stayed ‘til the love songs kicked it down again, nearing Halloween. ♪ People are strange when you're a stranger | Faces look ugly when you're alone ♪ … Just the right mood for Halloween.

With 1967 a pivotal year for innovative radio and the FM stations, on October 30th-31st WNEW/New York raised the dead by flipping to a progressive Rock format. Reportedly the first in the Metromedia chain to listen to their listeners, that format held them at the top of the ratings through the 1970s and beyond.

ROCK-tober is truly a unique month of the year, with Halloween as a most beloved “non” holiday. All the fun without the stress! And like it or not, it signals the beginning of the Holiday parties.

It’s also the time each year when my vintage Rock & Roll mind rambles down Memory Lane, to the Radio DJ who truly defines Halloween—the incomparable Wolfman Jack.

In October 1967, Wolfman Jack continued to nurture his werewolf within, growing an enthusiastic audience who loved his salacious, hairy image. He blasted his signature howl to “13 states and 2 Canadian provinces” at XERB/Hollywood (really coming from Rosarito Beach, Mexico).  

Though billed as the “Soul Monster,” XERB’s listeners jammed the pop-Top 40 hit “The Letter,” up to #1. But you can bet Wolfie put his own spin on it. (Image: XERB “Soul 30 in California” October 7, 1967. Thanks to Airheads Radio Survey Archive and their collection of surveys for our viewing pleasure.)

Come Halloween, think ghosts, goblins, witches’ brew, seances, and weird, hairy creatures … like Wolfman Jack! We got a good thing goin’ on now! Aoooowwwooooo!

Have fun … be safe. Yes, you can do both.

Featured Radio Survey: KACY/Santa Barbara, California “Psychic Seances” October 6, 1967, blended a Soul and Rock Pop witch’s brew of hit songs. Do you have a special memory from this month, 50 Years Ago? Check out the full chart and recall that awesome day when … 

Celebrate OCTOBER 1967: 50 Years Ago and … Rock On!  
 
Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

♪ ♪ ♪

Sunday, September 3, 2017

50 Years Ago Sullivan vs Morrison Sep 1967



Breaking News 10/02/17: Coming soon ...

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 …

Opening The Doors 
 
As we headed back to school 50 Years Ago this Month, Ed Sullivan likely sang “Come Back When You Grow Up” to bad-boy band, The Doors (#1 song by Bobby Vee in Milwaukee*).

Jim Morrison lied—or conveniently forgot his agreement—to eliminate the word “higher” in the line, “Girl we couldn’t get much higher.” (“Light My Fire”) Sounds a bit prudish these days, doesn’t it? It was serious business to Mr. Sullivan.

Morrison traded one night of self-satisfaction for a really pissed Sullivan, who banned them from the nationally popular show and cancelled the remaining six that had been scheduled.

A California gal, I’d seen The Doors in concert months before they appeared on Mr. Sullivan’s show, and knew they were destined for stardom, without much help. But that show was a hallmark of popularity for anyone fortunate to gain access to its stage.

Obviously, The Doors did what they set out to do—garner national fans. With that performance, there were many opportunities other than The Ed Sullivan Show.

Having appeared already on American Bandstand (July 22, 1967), after Sullivan, The Doors gave The Jonathan Winters Show a holiday treat (December 24th) … but TV rather ignored them from that point.

Per Wiki: “Morrison died at age 27 [July 3, 1971], the same age as several other famous rock stars in the 27 Club. In 1974, Morrison's girlfriend Pamela Courson also died at the age of 27.”

Radio didn’t ignore The Doors! “Light My Fire” was still in the top ten on a Midwest survey*, though it had waned on others. WABC/New York’s fans began pushing their new “People Are Strange” up the chart that week, mimicked by KFRC/San Francisco.

In BFYP Book 2 “The Swinging Sixties,” DJ William F. Williams talked about the merger of Rock & Roll with FM radio, during the late ‘60s. Glad to find himself at KBLA/Los Angeles: “I was seeing an awakening of what became known as ‘Sixties Music,’” William recalled. “Oh yeah, I definitely want to be in on this! I want to play the long version of ‘The End’ by The Doors, which you’re not going to hear at KHJ, KFWB, or KRLA.”

Featured Radio Survey: *A compilation survey reported song faves in Milwaukee and beyond in “Hot Happenings,” No. 38, September 18, 1967. Do you have a special memory from this month, 50 Years Ago? Perhaps the full chart will help you recall that awesome day when …  

Celebrate SEPTEMBER 1967: 50 Years Ago and … Rock On!
Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

♪ ♪ ♪


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

50 Years Ago Billie Joe Jumped Aug 1967



Breaking News: 08/29/17 BFYP DJ extraordinaire, Bill Gardner (of WIBG/Philly fame & more), flies lucky tourists around the Southwest for a small commercial airline most of the time these days. However, he landed long enough to feature BFYP Book 2: The Swinging Sixties on his website's The New, "Old Radio Picture of the Week"

"Lots of names we know from coast to coast are included," said Bill, "with pictures, wonderful new stories, memories, and even 'where are they now,' whenever possible." Awesome tribute. My humble thanks, Bill! He has much more on his site; from flying to some great Bill G. airchecks! Take a break and have fun at BillGardnerOnTheRadio.com.

Update for BFYP Book 2 DJ, Neale Blase! His rollicking autobiography, Radio on the Run was selected for the Library/Archive of the Rock & Roll Radio Hall of Fame!

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 … 

Dog Days of Summer Distraction 

Today, there are so many devices and distractions to help take your mind off the heat. August 1967 … not so much. We did have the radio, though. And this month, 50 Years Ago, we were properly distracted …

Dinner table conversations, summer BBQs, and breaks in our cruisin’ the drag, always included the questions, “What do you think Billie Joe McAllister and his girlfriend threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge?” and, “Oh, why did Billie Joe jump off the bridge?”

Bobbie Gentry’s haunting song, “Ode to Billie Joe,” whispered across heatwaves and followed us into refreshing swimming pools. While July radio listener surveys gave us a “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (Monkees), “Ode” hit the top of the charts early August, for stations like KFRC/San Francisco; though KEXO/Grand Junction, Colorado, took ‘til month’s end to run it up into the top twenty. (Featured Survey)

Throughout August 1967, we all had our suspicions. Just not all the same ones—flowers? engagement ring? drugs? even a baby, were popular theories—and Gentry let us speculate wildly, without comment.

It was a super-summer distraction though! Couple of fun facts:

Says the storyline at PerformingSongwriter.com, before Capitol Records cut it down for release, “Ode” rivaled “Light My Fire,” at seven minutes long, and graced the flipside of “Mississippi Delta.” That was also, “… the days when DJs still had minds of their own, and as in the stories of so many classic hits, the B-side became the A-side.”

The song’s title is spelled with “Billie” but the resulting movie in 1976, switched it to “Billy.”

The old Tallahatchie Bridge barely reached twenty feet above the water; hardly enough height to cause death. But it kept local cops busy throughout the summer, plucking wayward folks intent on death, from the river.

Gentry didn’t want us to go off on a tangent about what was thrown off the bridge. Her point, was the narrating family’s unfeeling, detached chatter at the dinner table that reflected how she felt about society. "Well, Billie Joe never had a lick of sense; pass the biscuits, please …”

Rumor has it that Gentry wrote the song, loosely based on a local true story from a decade-plus before. But there is no definitive proof, and the reclusive lady’s not talkin’.

Do we ever learn the answers to the questions? Uh … no. Like, “what happened to Bobbie Gentry” after Billie Joe’s success … we may never know what they tossed off the bridge, or why he jumped … or where the songwriter retired to and why she left the music biz.

So … what distractions kept you and your radio station cool in August 1967?

Featured Radio Survey: KEXO’s streetfront window was pretty hip for a 1,000-watts-to-250-watts-at-sunset, station. It kept Grand Junction hoppin’ in its early Rock & Roll days. Were you listening to KEXO, August 26, 1967? Who was your fave jock? Cousin Phil, Ron Conley, or … there’s more …

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

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

♪ ♪ ♪