Monday, April 3, 2017

50 Years Ago this Month – April 1967

An Over-the-Shoulder Peek at April 1967 

50 Years Ago this Month saw Psychedelic Rock force its swirling climb up the charts, gaining heat as we moved closer to the torrid Summer of Love.

We began the month on a high note, at the top of WABC/NY’s All American Survey April 8, 1967, “Happy Together” with The Turtles.

Not all DJs were happy together however, with radio broadcasting formats. FM stations began playing follow-the-leader, finding their footing outside the Jazz genre, in AOR and other diverse areas. Especially after DJ Tom Donahue signed on at KMPX/San Francisco, Friday, April 7, 1967. Always a rebel, Tom began his push for Freeform Rock, combined with an all-female engineering staff. It worked.

Need more to celebrate April 1967? Party on, for “Louie Louie” Day, April 11th; and have you hugged your vinyl record store owner lately? The tenth annual Record Store Day, spins off April 22nd. (Though you can start as early as the 15th for some.)
By month’s end in the Top 40, frustrated and disillusioned, we lamented toiling at our jobs with The Easybeat’s “Friday on My Mind” at #12, on WABC’s April 29 survey. Following on its heels, we protested with Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”* at #13. Although the tune took two weeks to climb its way to the middle of the pack, that didn’t reflect on its emotional impact.

The mood of the moment is capsulized in a nice long excerpt from the newly released BFYP (e)Book 2 – Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties! Like many of his listeners, DJ Neale Blase, objected to the Vietnam War.

Doing so on the radio though, generally didn’t sit well with station management. One night, as Neale broadcast live in a special airing with Armed Forces Radio on KOMA/Oklahoma City …

“Here’s a song for Private Bob Smith from his wife in Montana … she’s hoping that you’ll be home soon, safe and sound … and by the way, Bob, we all want you guys home soon, because you shouldn’t even be there. So for all of you guys over there … listen very closely to the lyrics of this song.” KOMA listeners heard Buffalo Springfield warn, “There’s a man with a gun over there …” *

Aware of his opportunity as a DJ to comment on news of the day, Neale said, “I can’t tell you how many times we would talk over the intro of a song and express our views in a very compatible tone of voice, with the tempo of the song. Never underestimate the power of subtlety.” Read the rest of Neale’s Swinging Sixties story, here.

Featured Radio Survey: In view of this lengthy post, and the lamentable fact I don’t have an April ’67 vintage radio survey in the BFYP Collection, we’ll continue to enjoy the March KFRC/San Francisco survey, and bounce back with more than enough May ’67 surveys next month. Top 30 station, KFRC, tipped the iceberg of our music revolution. But the depth of its love came from the base of FM underground music that would soon emanate from KMPX and DJ Tom Donahue. Check out the eclectic mix in the March 1, 1967 KFRC Big 30 chart.

Celebrate APRIL 1967: 50 Years Ago … Rock On!
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