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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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

50 Years Ago this Month – October

Owwwwoooo! October’s a Scream!

Were you like me, eagerly anticipating … and dreading … October’s arrival? (Hence the late post.)

Halloween – YEAH! But Holidays … bah humbug! I’m just not ready to go there. So, let’s Rock instead!

ROCK-tober is truly my favorite month of the year, with Halloween as my beloved “non” holiday. All the fun without the stress!

What songs did we howl along with 50 Years Ago this Month? Cherish* your Sunshine Superman

KFRC / San Francisco’s top ten for Halloween week 1966 had us crying “96 Tears” at #1 by ? & the Mysterians (yes, they used a question mark for their name). Only “Psychotic Reaction” (Count Five) at #9, came close to getting us in an eerie mood.

For mystique, the state of California tried to alter our state of minds, as it declared LSD officially illegal on October 6, 1966—which sent many into a Zombie rage, raising the dead and smashing pumpkins—making it nearly impossible to distinguish our politicians from All Hallow’s Eve ghouls. Fifty years later, nothing has changed. (Please know I’m being facetious - sorta.)

From ghosts to witches, hallowed ceremonies to pumpkin parties, eerie screams to Wolfman Jack’s howls, Halloween celebrants love to let loose.

There is always a witch’s cauldron-full of frightening community events, and a fun round-up of spooky music on your local Radio station.  

If scary isn’t your thing, a pretend solution is to gather the family for classic TV special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” and celebrate its 50th anniversary! (Airs October 19th on ABC—record and replay!)

Whatever your festivities, or if opting for a homebound night of creepy news … I mean, movies … enjoy your last shred of sanity before the scary-mad dash for New Year’s Eve!

Featured Radio Survey: Were you in Chicago for Halloween in 1966? You’ll likely remember devilish DJ Jim Stagg chatting with the beastly Beatles. While the survey isn’t very scary, the 10-06-66 date might spook you! (*Cherish and Sunshine Superman both hit the top ten in Stagg’s Hit Line Sound Survey.)

Celebrate OCTOBER 50 Years AgoRock On!

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