Monday, March 1, 2021

Rock Radio MARCH 1971 Mary Sweet & Contrary

1988 Rockin' Green with 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  
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
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*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’s calendar site. Enjoy! 

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