Monday, March 1, 2021

Rock Radio MARCH 1971 Mary Sweet & Contrary

Green & happy 1988 Gumby
Mary, Mary, One Sweet & One Contrary 

And we’re rolling, rolling | Rolling on the river … While we’re still rolling down February’s river of love songs, March 1971 we begin to hear more sounds of discontent on radio music charts.

From an identity crisis without love, like George Harrison’s “What Is Life,” to “L.A. Goodbye” by the Ides of March, and Neil Diamond’s L.A. depression in “I Am … I Said,” angst and cynicism crept into artists and songwriters’ best works.
    
As we know, life in entertainment can be draining. And as Diamond said, ♪ *L.A.’s fine but it ain’t home | New York’s home, but it ain’t mine no more … ♪ On happier notes, let’s Rock & Roll 50 Years Ago this Month ...  

Rockin’ News & Views ~ Then & Now  
BFYP’s
best friend, DJ extraordinaire, BILL Gardner, reminisced aloud one day: I remember March 1971 well. I was at WIBG Philadelphia, driving around in my Lamborghini Miura, and playing the amazing "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye, while Tom Jones had a lady that was the "kind you like to flaunt and take to dinner." Good fun. And yeah, nice ride! 
     Our March ’71
Featured Radio Survey for WCFL/Chicago, agreed with Bill and Philly fans. More intriguing than the question, the lady sashayed into #3, a step ahead of Gaye’s query at #4, week of March 18, 1971. That was then … for a little now, it’s all about memories and music …

March is Music in Our Schools Month by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). This year’s MIOSM theme is “Music: The Sound of My Heart.” Which of us 39ers can’t identify with that?!
    
While BFYP focuses on music of the past, some of the best tunes originated with youngsters too young to drink or vote—school age. Whether their inspiration came from school programs or not, there is no doubt many were influenced by their schools, or peers in a music program.

    
That arts and music programs have succumbed to budget cuts in recent decades is as big a tragedy as the Covid cancellation of schools altogether. If you have educational influence, please listen to the music in your heart and consider
working with the NAfME (and other organizations) to nurture music in our schools. Play on …

March 17th: These days, holidays featuring a specific cultural heritage is alternately lauded and vilified. As an American with Irish lineage, the green has always been cause for celebration. How does this fit into Rock Radio History? #16 on this month’s featured chart is the Ides of MarchL.A. Goodbye.” A largely forgettable tune, it may have hit the top twenty due to the band’s Illinois (WCFL), not Ireland, beginnings; but its sentimentality is all Irish, and you might recall better, their 1970 million-copy hit, “Vehicle.”
    
So if for no other reason than to celebrate good Rock, raise your pint to the
Ides of March and party green!

March 21st: Oh! I almost forgot! This is Memory Day! While it was likely originated to bring your attention to the maladies of memory, there is no associated link. Obviously, we’re all about memories here, at Blast from Your Past! We can certainly improvise ways for you to celebrate the day. 
    
As most of us know, the older we become, the more difficult it is to dredge up the best and brightest of our long-ago memories. So use this day to listen to the music of your era … music always sparks memories … and Enjoy the Moment … Again! ♪ *Let’s take a lifetime to say | I knew you well … ♪

March 29th: When I last saw you, you were tickling the ivories in a sentimental song for World Piano Day! Why March 29th? It welcomes the 88th day of the year, of course, in honor of the popular piano’s number of keys. Though the electronic organs/keyboards may not always offer 88 keys, they still pay extraordinary tribute to their piano forefather.
    On the Piano Day site, you’ll find an “annual worldwide event founded by a group of likeminded people.” And who hasn’t been affected by a piano solo at some point in life? Were there any piano-heavy songs in the Top 40 charts March 1971? Could be … Of course, when you think of World Piano Day, the
great compositions for piano like Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” come to mind.
    
But that was then, this is now-ish. Many Rock songs feature the versatile and dynamic piano—or more prevalent by Rock & Roll’s Golden Years, various graduations into the electronic organ.

    
If not throughout a tune, an intriguing piano intro make it instantly identifiable. And a final, lingering, often haunting piano riff can make or break a pop song. March 1971’s hit “*
For All We Know” by The Carpenters (#6 on WCFL’s “All Hit Music” chart), opens and closes with tinkling piano notes.
    
From grands to spinets and pipe organs to
electronic keyboards, the piano and organ are instrumental (yes, pun intended!) to many great Rockin’ tunes, and often distinguishes some artists, like the incomparable, Stevie Wonder. His contribution this month is a cover of The Beatles’ ‘60s hit, “We Can Work It Out.” It’s climbing the WCFL chart at #22.

50 Years Ago on Your Tinny Transistor Radio ~ MARCH 1971  
Mary was popular!
What Mary, you ask? More than one on WCFL/Chicago’s music chart. “Sweet Mary” (Wadsworth Mansion) and “Proud Mary” (Ike & Tina Turner) fought for your devoted radio attention in the top ten.
    
WCFL’s “Big 10 Albums” list, features the perfectly titled David Crosby album for this month’s Memory Day! If I Could Only Remember My Name (some days are like that!) came in at #7, just ahead of Gordon Lightfoot’s cerebral album, If You Could Read My Mind. However, Lightfoot’s album-titled song hit the chart at #23, while no singles for Crosby made this month’s chart. Before you check them out on the Featured Radio Survey

Notable celebratory musical notes of the month:
March 5th
: Led Zeppelin tested out their musical reception with the inaugural on-stage performance of “Stairway to Heavendoes anyone remember laughter?! … on this day in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The album, Led Zepplin IV, was defined by “Stairway,” and though not widely released until November, it never officially came to the US as a single, yet was “… placed at number 31 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

March 16th: The Grammy Awards are back in March 2021 akin to 1971’s 13th Grammy Awards (for best songs of 1970). Though it was the lucky 13th Grammys, the show touted its first live television broadcast with a ceremony honoring Simon & Garfunkel for their Bridge over Troubled Water (final) Album / Record / and Song of the Year (title track). Made for great TV! But back to radio’s best in March 1971

BFYP Featured Radio Survey  
It’s great to be green! At least according to WCFL/Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day edition of their “All Hit Music Big 10” week ending March 18, 1971. However, there was nary a shamrock, a harp, nor an impish leprechaun to be seen unless you count DJ Larry O’Brien! But it does have a dynamite list of great Rockin’ songs with the Partridge Family’s “Doesn’t Somebody Want to be Wanted” firmly in first for another week … 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that groovy day when your radio played …

Celebrate MARCH 1971 and … Rock On!  


Blast from Your Past Gifts
Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

*Song credit: “For All We Know” (Carpenters)

LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. Two books (of three) are published in her Blast from Your Past series, available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon … The Psychedelic Seventies!

Note: FYI – All links in the BFYP site are personally visited, verified, and vetted. Most are linked to commonly accessed sites of reputable note. Occasionally, since I often feature real people and/or singular sources there may be an unsecured link. As with everything cyber-security, use at your own discretion and risk. No compensation is received for any mentions of businesses, products, or other commercial interests. *All holiday and special event days are found at Brownielocks.com’s calendar site. Enjoy! 

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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Rock Radio FEBRUARY 1971 It was/is a Wild World!

It’s a Wild World … and a-Changin’ World! 

Yes, even here, at Blast from Your Past, change is a constant. No, we’re not trying to change history aka Orwell’s 1984. ♪ … But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there … ♪ We’re simply sprucing up the site to bring you news of today and yesterday (not the fake kind). Then and now, ♪ … Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world … ♪ (Cat Stevens; February 1971.)

Rearranging Blast’s sections allows for reasons to celebrate, which may have originated in Rock & Roll’s past or resonates with music, retro radio, and news of note today. First, News & Views to think about as we boogie into 50 Years Ago this Month. Enjoy!

Blast from Your Past ~ News & Views
February
3rd (1959): The Day the Music Died … a date every year that commemorates the music we lost on this day in 1959 … already twelve years past in 1971. It is no less poignant or significant today, sixty-two years later. One can’t help but wonder what future marvelous music we missed over the decades with the deaths of industry innovators Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson), and Ritchie Valens, in an airplane crash.
      We’ll revisit this subject no doubt, in December, the month Don McLean’s revered song, “American Pie” (with the famed line above) hit the charts and reminded us what we were missing. Rock & Roll music lovers, please bow your heads in a moment of silence.

February 11th: Then honor them again on Get Out Your Guitar Day with a rousing rendition of “Chantilly Lace”!  (The Big Bopper; 1958) OR … “Come On Let’s Go” (Ritchie Valens; 1958); and “That’ll Be the Day” (Buddy Holly, 1957). There were no links associated with this day or The Day the Music Died, so enjoy a sing-a-long and have fun on these!  

Just a few from the BFYP vintage radio collection
February 13th: While we have you cruisin’ down Memory Lane, flip on the radio and give some thought to its Rockin’ origin. World Radio Day 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of UNESCO’s special day dedicated to more than 110 years of radio broadcasting. A great place to bone up on your radio history, and consider its subtheme: New World / New Radio. Celebrate radio’s evolution, innovation, and most importantly, how it foments our connection to each other.

      Radio stations and pioneering Rock & Roll Radio folks, fans and listeners—bop into your memory banks and tell us about your fondest radio listening experiences. What radio message, event, or broadcaster left their mark on you? Tell us! @BlastFromPastBk or email your comment for posting to site!
      Tell your friends! #WorldRadioDay #NewWorldNewRadio

February 27th: Grab your fringe jacket, bell bottom jeans, funky vintage transistor radio, and turn on the lava lamp—it’s National Retro Day! Although I’m not sure what their link is about, I’ve included their “official” special day here, because I just love the idea of going retro—any day! Rock On!

50 Years Ago this Month on Your Tinny Transistor Radio    
FEBRUARY
1971 ~ a stellar month for pop music. KHJ/Los Angeles’s Top 30 for
February 17th included such memorable greats as Judy Collins’s soulful recording of “Amazing Grace” at #24; “Mr. Bojangles,” a sentimental cover tune by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band sliding down at #17; Ike & Tina Turner belting out #12, “Proud Mary”; Janis Joplin grousing about “Me and Bobby McGee” at #11; and Francis Lai’s "Theme from Love Story" moving swiftly upward at #4--did anyone who saw the movie ever listen to the instrumental hit without sobbing?!

And we have 50 Years of changing tunes ‘round your tinny transistor radio dial … last month we spoke of KADI/St. Louis’s numerous format flips and call letter changes over its radio tenure. But ABC Radio takes the award for multiple station changes in one day across the country.

Apparently the prolific radio parent company wanted to spread the love on February 14th: All of ABC Radio's FM stations change call letters on the day of love …

>KABC-FM in Los Angeles becomes KLOS, for Los Angeles.

>KGO-FM in San Francisco becomes KSFX, for San Francisco (now KOSF).

>KQV-FM in Pittsburgh becomes WDVE, for a D o V E, the symbol of peace.

>KXYZ-FM in Houston becomes KAUM (today KHMX), meaning unknown.

>WABC-FM in New York becomes WPLJ, for White Port & Lemon Juice.

>WXYZ-FM in Detroit becomes WRIF, for a guitar "R I F F" – legend goes that the calls were meant for WLS-FM to symbolize the city's jazz scene). But …

>WLS-FM in Chicago becomes WDAI, supposedly meant for WXYZ-FM to celebrate the Detroit Auto Industry; it had no meaning in Chicago.

Rounding out February radio fun, February 20, 1971 nearly saw a second “War of the Worlds” sans the war or the worlds … simply an erroneous warning from the U.S. Emergency Broadcast System. Although most radio stations ignored it (hopefully they investigated it), WOWO in Fort Wayne, Indiana, took it seriously with a 20-minute programming interruption. Oops! And on to our regular programming of the month’s fun survey!

BFYP Featured Radio Survey     
FEBRUARY 1971
 KHJ/Los Angeles featured a hit song’s star hitmaker in their February 17, 1971 “Boss 30” music survey. Hint: she’s mentioned above. And what hit #1 (again) for the trendsetting station? Take a peek … 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that groovy day when your radio played …

Celebrate FEBRUARY 1971 and … Rock On!  

Blast from Your Past Gifts
Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. Two books (of three) are published in her Blast from Your Past series, available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon … The Psychedelic Seventies!

Note: FYI – All links in the BFYP site are personally visited, verified, and vetted. Most are linked to commonly accessed sites of reputable note. Occasionally, since I often feature real people and/or singular sources there may be an unsecured link. As with everything cyber-security, use at your own discretion and risk. No compensation is received for any mentions of businesses, products, or other commercial interests. *All holiday and special event days are found at Brownielocks.com’s calendar site. Enjoy! 

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