Tuesday, March 1, 2016

50 Years Ago this Month - Lennon Rocks Radio Boat

Teen Power 50 Years Ago this Month = Boomer Power Now!

If today’s power-mad teens think they are the driving force of retail sales, let them be reminded – we started it!

Week of March 12, 1966: “Teen Power – America’s 24 million teenagers spent $15 billion on leisure time activities last year, a boost of $3 billion over the past two years. According to Billboard magazine, youngsters bought around 68% of all single records and 34% of all albums sold across retail counters.

What did we buy? Miniskirts, Espresso, Ben Franklin glasses, music by the Righteous Brothers, and more Rockin’ vinyls by the Rolling Stones.
As with today’s teens, our music and the artists we loved often reflected our restless and rebellious attitude, with reactions to it as diverse as the swirling colors in a tie-dye shirt.

Example: the UK public took John Lennon’s off-hand statement made in the London Evening Standard in March 1966, with Lot’s grain of salt. But in the US, it rubbed salt in Christian wounds ...

It took five months (August) before the article republished in the US teen newsmag, Datebook – and all hell broke loose – heralding “politically correct” fanaticism and society’s inability to tolerate a metaphor.

Yes, he indeed said, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first—rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

London Evening Standard, March 4, 1966 & Dallas News flashback 2013
What did your fave radio station DJ have to say about it? Did you understand that 1) things were different in the UK – Christianity was experiencing a slump; and 2) Lennon meant the comparison as a point of reference, and since he was currently studying religion, it was to him, a natural comparison?

Probably not – we Americans tend to blindly grab whatever media-frenzied headline is waving over our heads today and beat it to death until it succumbs to our way of thinking – as skewered as that might be.

The controversy contributed to The Beatles’ decision that their August US tour would be their last – on its conclusion, they became a studio band – but wrote some of their best work.

Still happy in our ignorance in March, we protested the Vietnam War and boot-stomped Barry Sadlers’ “Ballad of the Green Berets” to the top of the charts. WABC/NY moved over to their new Avenue of the Americas radio studio, and a NYC top jock, Murray the K, opened a Rock ‘n’ Roll theater night spot.  

Featured Radio Survey: “Ballad of the Green Berets” hit the charts hard in March 1966. Heartland listeners at WHB/Kansas City (MO) already pushed it up to #1, while it took ‘til the week of March 20th for WGH/Tidewater (VA) to take it to the #3 spot on the chart. Who were your fave DJs? Did you listen to WGH’s high-steppin’ jocks, like “Ol’ Boob” Bob Calvert and “Lean Gene” Loving? There’s more

Celebrate this month 50 years ago and … Enjoy the moment … again!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

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