Sunday, February 2, 2020

Rock Radio FEBRUARY 1970 Rockin’ Heavy

He Ain’t Heavy … He’s my Metalhead 

50 Years Ago this Month ~ FEBRUARY 1970 
Let’s start by putting 1970 in perspective … a new house cost $10,000 less (about $24,000) than today’s new car … and gas for your car averaged less per gallon than today’s candy bar, on sale. Sigh … now these are stats that truly make us pine for the “good ol’ days”!

Fashion-wise, we were striped, flared, leathered and booted up, swinging our suede fringe and contrarily by night, glowing with evening brocade.

Music-wise, Rock & Roll continued to evolve, adding more of that new weighty sound to the mix … gloom and doom with an eerily heavy hand.

You could still find plenty of Psychedelic Pop Rock and sinuous soul on the radio charts, like “Psychedelic Shack” (Temptations) and “The Thrill is Gone” (B.B. King)--#4 & #6, respectively at KFRC 610/San Francisco. But we crashed into our metal years on …

Friday the 13th: Not your ordinary spooky day, it was no accident that an album in the UK, arguably deemed Rock’s initial foray to the dark side, would debut. Great marketing ploy … Want to wallow in doom and despair? Play the opener, “Black Sabbath,” on the self-titled band’s song/album and submerge yourself. Quickly gaining English popularity, it landed in the US in June.
Already considered the devil’s work by super-conservative parents, Rock’s rebel side with Black Sabbath gave February 1970 an edgy, leather-and-metal sound.
By 1971, Geezer Butler (one of Sabbath’s four founding members, including the iconic Ozzy Osbourne) explained their name choice and song title to Rolling Stone magazine, “It’s a satanic world. The devil’s more in control now. People can’t come together, there’s no equality.” Makes great music fodder, and yet … what have we learned in 50 years?

February 27th: On a lighter and incongruous note, our parents still worked at curbing our youthful radical ways, to obvious failure … Jefferson Airplane found themselves fined $1,000 for buoyantly spouting profanity on stage at an Oklahoma City concert. Oh, the horrors of it …
While they are credited with the distinction of the only group to grace the stages of the 1960s’ three most iconic Rock festivals—Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and Altamont—1970 would signal the beginning of the end for San Francisco’s beloved band.

On Your Tinny Transistor Radio ~ FEBRUARY 1970
Why is it that many music groups write and/or record some of their best work as they’re breaking up? Is it “swan song” syndrome? Just released in January, Simon and Garfunkel’s final studio album and title song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” topped the charts in February. ♪ Like a bridge over troubled water | I will ease your mind ...
       Though Paul Simon wrote the song, he suggested Art Garfunkel’s pure solo vocals best showcased Bridge’s myriad of musical genres for the ultimate soulful sound. His hunch worked. Were you listening to DJ Chuck Browning as he spun Bridge to the top of KFRC/San Francisco’s February 11th radio chart?
Of course, it’s Valentines month, and there were plenty of love songs topping the charts in 1970. Another DJ Chuck (Leonard) played them for WABC/New York’s lovesick fans who favored ballads and lost loves early in the month. Shocking Blue gave us “Venus” at #2—She’s got it—while Tom Jones crooned his broken hearted blues “Without Love” (#6) I had nothing, nothing at all.
Featured Radio Survey:  Ending the month of love, we danced our way down the musical rabbit hole with Three Dog Night’s “Celebrate” moving quickly up the final February chart. Check out WLS/Chicago’s “Hit Parade” survey for February 23, 1970, with DJs Chuck Buell and Kris Stevens to greet you … 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that groovy day when …

Celebrate FEBRUARY 1970 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 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. However, as with everything cyber-security, use at your own discretion. 

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