Behind-the-Mic Scenes of Music & Mayhem
On the radio in 1969, we heard the DJs rave about a new song, as they slapped it on the turntable and talked over the first few seconds of its spinning, slick vinyl grooves.
|Neil Ross Honolulu KKUA ‘68|
“Flamethrower” stations (the big guys) may have transitioned to reel-to-reel tapes, but either way, musicians’ studio recordings personified the best of the bands’ musical prowess … then we began to hear rumors of what went on behind studio mics, or we scored tickets to see them in concert … LIVE … a whole different experience.
50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio
May 10th: By 1969, we were used to hearing about the bad-boy antics of boy bands, and learned of the many real or imagined concert mishaps. But none so prestigious as this one …
Reported by 95.9 The River’s “Today’s Rock History,” “The Turtles and The Temptations performed at the White House for a ball given by President Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia. Mark Volman of The Turtles was reported to have fallen off the stage several times.”
Most reports set it at FIVE times. That musta hurt. Or not … until the next day.
May 24th: We were told to “Get Back,” and we didn’t mind a bit! On nationwide average, The Beatles' single clawed its way to #1 on Rock Radio charts, where it stayed for most of another month.
DJ Don Bombard at WOLF/Syracuse, New York, is featured on the cover of their “Hot 30 in the Salt City” survey for May 14, 1969. At that point, “Get Back” cruised to #2; but a week later, peaked in the #1 spot.
Meantime, WABC/New York fans & most Rock stations of the nation, also boosted The Beatles’ “Get Back” to #1 in mid-May, where it stayed on WABC until late June, when knocked off the top by the Henry Mancini Orchestra and “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet.” Talk about night and day. From lyrical admonishment to silent amour.
Fun fact or fiction? Per Wiki on “Get Back”: “Lennon also said that ‘there's some underlying thing about Yoko in there,’ saying that McCartney looked at Yoko Ono in the studio every time he sang ‘Get back to where you once belonged.’” Oh my.
Featured Radio Survey: Just before “Get Back” stepped forward on the music scene, WOLF/Syracuse, New York, listed a mighty mixed bag of songs in their top 30 tunes. Who remembers dreamy “Atlantis” at #10 (Donovan – who by the way, celebrates his 73rd birthday May 10th); and at #20, hilariously skewed lyrics of “Bad Moon Rising” (Creedence) … ♪There’s a bathroom on the right! ♪ Check out all the charted hits on WOLF … 50 Years Ago This Month in Rock & Roll Radio. That awesome day when …
Celebrate MAY 1969 and … Rock On!
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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 1 – Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2 – Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon … The Psychedelic Seventies!
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