Tuesday, January 1, 2019

50 Years Ago JANUARY 1969 Crimson & Clover

BFYP BULLETIN 01/21/19: Happy Birthday Wolfman Jack … wherever you are! “Wolfman Jack—Robert Weston Smith—summed up our generation and the dawn of unconventional Rock & Roll Radio, in Have Mercy! Confessions of the Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal. Alternately glorified, vilified and memorialized, Rock Radio DJs personified the turmoil and tremendous strides of three decades of society in the US.”* Wolfman Jack was an unparalleled leader of the pack. Aaaooooowww!
*From Blast from Your Past Book 2, Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties.

And now, flip on the mic, let’s Rock On back to 1969 …

Rise ‘n’ Shine and Rock & Roll in 2019!

Whoohoo! We made it! If you’re reading this, 2018 was a GOOD year. Perils are many in our convoluted world, so New Year’s Eve is more significant every time its glittery night comes around, and we awaken on New Year’s Day.

If you’re eagerly seeking another clean slate, remember there is benefit in looking back—not just over the past year, but reflecting on life as a whole. It helps us take advantage of the road ahead … may it be a golden one for you! Happy New Year!

Looking back at Blast from Your Past, we like to romanticize the “good ol’ days,” and tout early Rock & Roll as the best ever; but from payola to hijacking record labels, we know it wasn’t without its crime and punishment.

Sadly, many labels treated their artists badly and it’s no secret that royalties for some artists were decades—if ever—in the making. Hopefully, the music industry is kinder these days.
Some performers have since written about their fun but frustrating experiences. One such, is an icon who waited until all the nefarious parties had headed to Hades before cluing us fans in on what he had to endure to bring his music to our wild-‘n’-crazy transistor radios

Tommy James of The Shondells first caught our attention with a little “Hanky Panky” (1966) and followed up with the dreamy “Crimson and Clover”* (1969).

According to his book Me, The Mob, and The Music (2011), Tommy “… tells the incredible story, revealing his complex and sometimes terrifying relationship with Roulette Records and Morris Levy, the legendary Godfather of the music business.”

But in 1969 we were oblivious to the shenanigans behind the scenes. With barely fifty words to its name, we sent the wistful *“Crimson and Clover” shooting to the top of the charts just before Christmas 1968, where it stayed through most of January 1969. ♪ Now, I don't hardly know her | But I think I could love her ♪

Reportedly, an early song recorded on 16-track equipment, Crimson was hijacked by WLS/Chicago when Tommy played a rough cut off-the-record (yep, that’s a pun!) and the station secretly recorded it, releasing it as a “world exclusive.” Shame, shame.

All was forgiven, however, as the WLS DJs helped Crimson debut on the Hit Parade” chart at #22 on December 16, 1968. It didn’t stop ‘til reaching #1 on January 13, 1969.

Featured Radio Survey: WKNR/Detroit fans loved “Crimson & Clover” too. Their “Music Guide” floated it up to #1 for the January 2, 1969 chart, keeping it there through the end of the month .50 Years Ago This Month. That awesome day when …

Celebrate JANUARY 1969 and … Rock On!
Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) 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!

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