Monday, December 4, 2023

Rock Radio DECEMBER 1973 Strawberry Holiday

 We’re Rockin’ Strawberry Ornaments  

As always—OK, usually—there’s a method to my Christmas decorating madness. Take a look at our December Song of Note and you’ll know where my festive strawberry spirit originated, 50 Years Ago this month.

Of course, you don’t need to be old enough to remember December 1973 tunes on the radio to enjoy our monthly tribute to Oldies Rock & Roll and the fun and zany DJs who brought it to you. All you need is a love for pioneering Rock music and a curiosity of its amazing, enduring history on the radio. Let’s get Rockin’

DECEMBER 1973 Radio Muse & News    

What was happening in Rock music as we decorated our trees this month 50 Years Ago? Well, let me tell you …

December 5th: Paul McCartney—no longer a Beatles member, released Wings’ best and most enduring album, Band on the Run. What was your favorite tune from the album—same name “Band on the Run” or the puppy name turned into a silly love song, “Jet”? For a pure romantic romp though, I enjoy “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five.” UK DJ Paul Gambaccini quoted Paul in a 1976 book that told of Paul’s penchant for 1st-line creativity, “'No one ever left alive in nineteen hundred and eighty-five.' That's all I had of that song for months. 'No one ever left alive in nineteen hundred and eighty... six?' It wouldn't have worked!" no one left alive in 1985 | will ever do | She may be right | She may be fine | She may get love but she won't get mine | Cause I got you Not the lyrics you would expect from a futuristic first line …

December 23rd: Sliding down the East Coast in December 1973, we find WKKO/Cocoa Beach, Florida, struttin’ their stuff on a music survey for  week ending December 23rd, with the "Keep on Truckin’" hippie cartoon art that we talked about last month. The station didn’t stop there, however, giving their cover the obligatory Florida psychedelic sun and a version of recently minted Rolling Stones’ salacious tongue.

December 31st: Of course, it’s New Year’s Eve 1973! Likely one of the most memorable nights of the decade for Young brothers, Malcolm and Angus as they debut AC/DC on the New Year’s Eve stage for former Syndney, Australia’s, Chequers nightclub. Although purportedly closed in 1970, the once-popular venue obviously limped on for a few more years. From the outset, AC/DC band members displayed a glam penchant for flashy costumes. Angus even tried out Zorro and lampooned a Superman costume. Known for their hard rock/heavy metal/blues-rock music, they began their career covering tunes of the Beatles, Chuck Berry and some of the old blues. Fun place and night to begin anew …

On Your Tinny Transistor Radio  
Where were you celebrating the holidays December 1973? New York, Houston, or Cocoa Beach, Florida? Here’s a sample of what and who you were listening to …

WKKO/Cocoa Beach, Florida’s, radio survey for week ending December 23, 1973, like the state itself, is a little different. It’s comprised of a Top 35 music chart … yep, you read it right—not Top 20 or Top 40—eccentric or creative, your choice.

It wasn’t easy to find history on the station, for all its apparent historical popularity. A surf community favorite, the station served it well, with afternoon wave forecasts by champion surfer, Bob Freeman. His job at Canaveral Pier’s Ron Jon Surf Shop gave Bob the perfect view with a penchant for the waves. A Florida Today site recalls a 2019 conversation with Freeman, "The disc jockeys still remember they were outrageous," Freeman said. "All the guys would come into the shop and I'd be doing this live feed, and they'd all be yelling in the background, like, 'Hey, Miami boys, go home, we got no waves here,' or, 'Stay away, this guy knows nothing,' but I'd be looking out the window of the shop at the wave breaks." 

DJ Bryan Norcross recalls living on the Florida coast as a kid during WKKO’s heyday, “… KO-860 was a daytimer. When the sun went down, they went off the air, and the AM radio dial exploded with the royalty of radio. Fifty-thousand-watt radio stations from big cities in the North and Midwest came booming in … the big one, WABC, lit up my radio from New York City …” 

Speaking of WABC … in its legendary 1970s era the New York City radio station compiled a year-end Top 100 music chart. I’ve always felt bad for the songs that debuted on the radio in November and December … aren’t
they kinda getting the short end of the year-end survey stick? You can probably argue that they may have made the top of the next year’s list … but did anyone even check? Prob’ly not.

#1 on WABC’s colorful “MusicRadio 77 100 Top Hits 1973” was Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” hitting top of charts in February & March. With a flood of now-iconic tunes throughout, the bottom #100 tune was by the compelling artist already tagged as The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, with “Do You Want to Dance.” The tune was an April big hit.

But did “Time In a Bottle” by Jim Croce truly deserve the year’s third-to-last spot at #97, while WABC’s own surveys shot him up from #28 on 12/03 to #5 by month’s end? Luck of the draw, I suppose. “Time” finally landed at #1 on their January 14, 1974, survey. Sadly, the song was released posthumously. Jim died in a plane crash on September 20, 1973.

Monthly Song of Note   
Have you sung along to any of the songs mentioned so far? If none of the above struck your year-end fancy for December 1973, let’s have a showdown for the Song of Note.

Contender: “Show and Tell” by Al Wilson is not your science project or day-after-Christmas kinda show-and-tell … he’s in loooove at #10 on WKKO’s music chart ladder, leaping seven rungs up from the previous week. Go ahead, I won’t watch while you warble … Just a game I play | When I wanna say "I love you" | Girl, so show me and tell me |That you feel the same way too …     

Winner: It’s Dawn’s juicy, ragtime-style “Strawberry Patch” however, up from #14 at WKKO last week to #6 that takes the Song of Note trophy this month. It’s a great example of how radio station surveys can be misleading if you 1) weren’t there back in the day; or 2) don’t know radio station surveys often altered song titles for space … the song’s full title: “Who's In The Strawberry Patch With Sally” … now that’s a far cry from just thinking about a strawberry patch! Inquiring minds wanted to know Who's in the strawberry patch with Sally | Now that she's not picking them with me? | Oh no, I don't care what they're doing there | 'Neath the shade of the old apple tree  

And why was it chosen as our December song? Because strawberries are the perfect bright red December ornament for a green Christmas tree!

Quirky Band Names  

I looked at El Chicano for this category and found the Los Angeles brown-eyed soul group had a great varietal style with “Tell Her She’s Lovely,” jumping quickly from #33 on WKKO’s chart to #23 this month. However, it was a beacon of light from Canada that caught my full Quirky Band Names attention …  

How could I pass it by with a name like Lighthouse? And, their lighthearted tribute to the ladies, “Pretty Lady,” also jumped ten spots on the chart in a week, up from #21 to #11. According to reports, the auspicious rise of the original 13-member band began in 1969 in Toronto, Ontario. It came with a performance introduction by none other than the illustrious Duke Ellington, “I'm beginning to see the" Unfortunately, by 1976, their light began to dim and the members disbanded. Reunited in 1992, a version of Lighthouse has remained on stage, since. 

December 2023 Music Events & More   

December 2nd:  And 50 Years from THIS day … make that December 2073KISS will be in the news again, with diehard metal fans remembering when, as a young’un, mom and dad took them to see the very last on-stage KISS performance at Madison Square Garden (New York). More astounding, as AP reporter Maria Sherman titled her article, “Kiss say farewell to live touring, become first US band to go virtual and become digital avatars.” Celebrated founders, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons were joined by Eric Singer (drummer) and Tommy Thayer (guitarist) leaving the stage to delight fans with their immortal avatars in their final statement, “God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You II.” (KISS 1991; Argent [original] 1973) Proving once again, Rock & Roll will never diiiiieeeee

December 21st: Looking for a way to honor 1973 during Christmas? Go Caroling Day doesn’t have an official link, but it’s a great time to remember and/or learn the many great Rockin’ Christmas tunes of the 1970s. Why not take the ‘70s songs caroling with you?

Beyond the 1970s there is a full 50-tune list for the past 50 years, but according to popularity, these ten 1970s songs were the best of the best December 2020:

“This Christmas” (1970) – Donny Hathaway
“Feliz Navidad” (1970) - José Feliciano
“River” (1971) – Joni Mitchell
“If We Make It Through December” (1973) – Merle Haggard
“Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” (1977) – Bing Crosby & David Bowie
“Pretty Paper” (1979) – Willie Nelson
“Aires de Navidad” (“Christmas Spirit”) (1970) - Willie Colón
“I Want to Come Home for Christmas” (1972) – Marvin Gaye
“Christmas in Prison” (1973) – John Prine
“Christmas Eve Can Kill You” (1972) – The Everly Brothers  

BFYP Featured Radio Survey  
DECEMBER 16-23, 1973 ~ WKKO/Cocoa Beach, Florida’s “860 Radio Hot Rocks” survey is pure psychedelic ‘70s. From its oversized, expressive artwork to its hip text style, there’s no doubt of its origin. Although WABC published a commendable 1973 year-end list, I had to give the FRS to WKKO. “Brevard County’s coverage giant wishes you a good day” … 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that
groovy day when your radio played   

Let’s Celebrate DECEMBER 1973 and Cheers to Your Holiday Happiness!

BFYP Book 1 (1954-1959) on Amazon        
BFYP Book 2 (Swinging ‘60s) on Amazon 
Blast from Your Past Gifts
Share your Golden Oldies R&R fun on Twitter:

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LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. Two books (of three planned) 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 … Book 3 – 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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Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Rock Radio November 1973 Gratitude & Jukeboxes

Keep On Truckin’ & Rockin’ Juke Joints   

There’s no doubt, if you look around your life, you’ll find something this Thanksgiving month, to be thankful for. Personally, when I rise every morning the first thing I do (almost) is thank the Universe for another opportunity to make someone smile.
True Thankfulness comes with age.  ~ L. Rochelle 

For the November 1973 article, I sent an email to my dear DJ friend and BFYP “resident radio mentor,” Bill Gardner, asking for his thoughts and whereabouts  

NOVEMBER 1973 Radio Muse & News     

Bill graciously replied, “You brought back quite a few memories from freakin' 50 years ago!” I could hear the smile in his words. So where was he? Were you shivering in the cold, listening to KDWB in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while Bill warmed his fingers, spinning the vinyls to keep you Rockin’? Enjoy this excerpt from my BFYP Book 3, Rock & Roll Radio DJs: Psychedelic Seventies book in progress …

“Program Director Jack McCoy and I had left KCBQ San Diego in the summer of '73 for temporary positions at WMYQ-FM Miami. I remember Jack had said ‘I have a guy I want to introduce you to who's running Fairbanks Broadcasting. George Johns is the National Program Director for this company and Jim Hilliard is the company president.’ I'd worked for Jim when he was Program Director in my hometown, at Famous 56 WFIL Philly, but didn't know George Johns. Jack told me ‘They're good people and they pay well.’ On meeting, George told me they were putting together this ‘middle of the road station in Dallas called KVIL’ and was interested in me, to join the team." So, Bill nearly headed to Texas, but …  
       “At the same time, I had a job offer to be the morning guy at rock and roll station KDWB/Minneapolis and ironically, Time Magazine ran a cover story in September 1973 about Minnesota, and how it was the most wonderful place in America to live! I fell for it.
       “I drove up from Miami in September wearing shorts and when I got there, it was 35 degrees! Then it got cold in the days to come. Quite honestly, I was thinking of leaving from the minute I got there. Meanwhile, George Johns was still assembling his airstaff for KVIL/Dallas. He told me years later that he'd check his newspaper in the morning down in Indianapolis, and if he saw the Minneapolis weather was crappy and very cold and maybe even snowing, he'd call me and say, ‘How you are liking it up there?’ What a hoot. His strategy finally worked. I would join KVIL in early 1974.

       “KDWB in the fall of '73 had an amazing on-air staff including Chuck Buell in middays, ‘True Don’ Bleu in afternoons, and Rob Sherwood evenings. Later, Chuck worked at WLS/Chicago, Rob Sherwood in San Francisco, and when I turned down a job at KYUU-FM/San Francisco, I recommended Don for it. He later went on to be a twenty-year market legend at KYUU-FM, and on my California station when I left K-101 (KIOI)/San Francisco.”  

Whether you were braving the chilly morning air with Bill Gardner in Minneapolis, or hanging out with Dick Sainte at WCFL in equally frigid Chicago, you likely enjoyed plenty of great Rock & Roll music … 50 Years Ago this Month 

November 9th: Man, what are you doin’ here Columbia Records releases the Piano Man album by singer-songwriter Billy Joel. Although his second studio album, it truly launched his career. The single (same name) was apparently released a week earlier (November 2nd), but for the life of me, I cannot find it on the vintage radio surveys!
       I wasted um, spent, SO much time searching for “
Piano Man” on vintage radio music charts. His popular tune tells a melodic, fictional version of real happenings, when “Billy Joel” as “Bill Martin” (his real name is William Martin Joel) needed to reinvent himself for a time. You would think it would show up on station surveys like KHJ/Los Angeles, or WABC/New York, no later than December or January (’74). Nada. After researching surveys through at least June—I feel like I’m in a time vortex—it’s nowhere to be found. Well we're all in the mood for a melody | And you've got us feeling alright    

November 10th: Although The O’Jays released their second album, Ship Ahoy, on this date, it took the first released single, “Put Your Hands Together”, until February 4th of ‘74 to hit charts. The feel-good, optimistic tune with a touch of gospel, hopped right to #18 on its way up the WABC/New York radio survey, where it stalled at #13, before dropping off by month’s end.

 On Your Tinny Transistor Radio  
Where were you bein’ thankful in November 1973? San Diego, Nashville, maybe Chicaaaago? Here’s a tasty turkey sampling of what and who you were listening to … at WCFL 

We slid quietly into the Gratitude ATTitude month of November, but WCFL/Chicago wasn’t quite finished with October. We’re taking a peek-a-BOO at their orange and black “one hundred and thirty-ninth” Top 40 survey, for week ending November 3, 1973—which of course, is still celebrating Halloween.    
Although love in all its many forms of angst still dominates the airwaves, the early 1970s is seeing an infiltration of offbeat tunes to tease our senses. Anyone remember Cheech and Chong’s “
Basketball Jones”? It’s #3 on our monthly Featured Radio Survey. Also on the chart and for truistic futurism, plus love, at #15 and climbing, is “We May Never Pass this Way Again,” by Seals & Crofts. Good song for a night of quiet revelry and a lava lamp. Dreams, so they say, are for the fools | And they let 'em drift away  
       Playing those tunes for Chicagoans was dynamic
DJ, Dick Sainte (1938-2005). His lengthy broadcasting career delighted listeners the length of the West Coast from Portland, Oregon, to Los Angeles. But he didn’t stop there. After a quick stint at WLS, Dick also graced the Halloween Edition of WCFL/Chicago’s survey cover for November 3, 1973. According to a mini-bio at SF Radio News, he “… possessed an encyclopedic mind on the subject of music history …” However, he didn’t just know music, he was also a musician in his own right. “Mr. Sainte toured as a trombonist for a short time [with the Les Brown big band], and also formed his own brass band.” 

Monthly Song of Note  
Still working its way up the top hits ladder of local tunes in Chicago’s “Super CFL Survey Nov 3,” Eddie Kendricks’ “
Keep On Truckin’” is more than just a feel-good dance melody. Since this is the time of year when we reminisce, ruminate, and do a little dancin’ over the Holidays, it’s an apt Song of Note to remind us, no matter what bumpy roads or wrong turns we stumbled on this year, we need to just keep on, keepin’ on.
       At WCFL it begins the month at #6, trucks up to #3 the following week, and starts the round-trip back at #6 by
November 24th issue, “number one hundred and forty-two.” 
       Still smarting from his sour split with The Temptations a couple years earlier, in the lyrics, Kendricks gave a gentle jab to his former bandmates … In old Temptations' rain, I'm duckin' | For your love through sleet or snow, I'm truckin'
       According to sources, the three co-writers, Kendricks,
Frank Wilson (producer of much of Eddie’s solo work) and songwriter, Leonard Caston, Jr., wanted something danceable and a crossover from R&B to
. Mission accomplished! 
       Did the “keep on truckin’” catchphrase from a 1968 cartoon inspire them? Although the Robert Crumb male-strutting ‘toon became a hippie t-shirt icon, even that wasn’t the first reference to “truckin’” I found. Crumb discovered his inspiration in a fun, bouncy little 1936 tune by
Blind Boy Fuller, “Truckin’ My Blues Away,” so we were “keepin’ on” long before 1973.
       Is this too much information on Truckin’? Heehee. Well, without truckers, this ol’ country would be in dire straits. Metaphor or not, we need to Keep On Truckin’!

Quirky Band Names
10 C.C. qualifies for this month’s Quirky Band Names, by process of elimination … the only group on our Featured Radio Survey not using their lead singer’s name, and, hasn’t been showcased yet. I fear we’ll need to change this article highlight soon, as more artists grab name-only spotlights.  
       But this is a good ‘un!
10 C.C. hails from across the pond to shoot its “Rubber Bullets” up the American charts, hitting #7 at its peak on WCFL’s November 3rd survey. It’s said that the song is a nod to Elvis’ 1957 hit, “Jailhouse Rock,” with recent visions of an Attica State Prison riot, reminiscent of old James Cagney movies. 
We all got balls and brains | But some's got balls and chains | At the local dance at the local county jail     
       And yes, they do. Although one version of their name origin is fun, but ethereal: King [their prominent UK record producer] chose the name after having a dream in which he was standing in front of the Hammersmith Odeon in London where the boarding read ‘10cc The Best Band in the World;’ another story tells a hilarious, more graphic tale, pure 1970s style. You can
read that version here … 
       Either way, the group’s original four artists, Graham Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, and Lol Creme always had a special connection. Still Rockin’, according to their site, “‘Because we existed in our own world [all four are admirable singer-songwriters], we didn’t need anyone to tell us how good we were. We listened to the records and went, this is everything we want it to be and more,’ says Gouldman.” 

November 2023 Music & More   

November 22nd: Get out your dime … okay, make it five bucks … put your money in the Jukebox and let’s dance on National Jukebox Day! Without an official link, I searched for helpful sites to enjoy the rich history and nostalgia of these old juke joint players.   
       The juke joints of rural, Southern America weren’t just the namesakes of jukeboxes—they’re where the Blues, liquor, and good times for hard-living plantation workers mashed into early Rock & Roll. So when you celebrate the veritable Jukebox, give a nod and a whisper of thanks to its origin and cultural significance.     
       Even if you don’t have a Jukebox, find a way to listen to
Oldies Rock & Roll and throw in some heartfelt Blues for soul. Thinking about investing in a Jukebox? It can look retro, but sound phenomenally modern. Choose your vintage style to play old 45s, albums (78s), CDs, or some even go Bluetooth! ... put another dime in the jukebox, baby  *...    

November 23rd: I know Thanksgiving Day isn’t exactly a Rock & Roll event, although, that depends on the family! When I was young, it was typically the day that mom stacked some old 45s of her favorite Christmas songs on the old stereo phonograph, like Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” and Gene Autry’s, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” When I grew up and the kitchen was mine, my Thanksgivings Rocked! Think “Little Saint Nick,” by The Beach Boys (1963) and “Jingle Bell Rock” (Hall & Oates, 1983). However you celebrate, even if it must be alone, let your memories be tasty, plentiful, and joyfully musical.

BFYP Featured Radio Survey  
NOVEMBER 3, 1973 ~ WCFL/Chicago – that’s where Rock was happening! Illinois’ capital city Rock Radio listeners enjoyed the last vestiges of October in an orange-and-black image of popular DJ, Dick Sainte—you may have known him personally, as Richard Arnold Middleton. The “Super CFL Survey Nov 3 ~ Halloween Edition ~ collector’s issue number one hundred and thirty-nine,” is a Top 40 list of powerhouse music. What’s at the top? The Rolling Stones’ “
Angie.” And they’re still at the top today50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio, where were you that groovy day when your radio played 

Let’s Celebrate NOVEMBER 1973 and Thank You for being here!

BFYP Book 1 (1954-1959) on Amazon        
BFYP Book 2 (Swinging ‘60s) on Amazon 
Blast from Your Past Gifts
Share your Golden Oldies R&R fun on Twitter:

* “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by Brit band, the Arrows (1976), before Joan Jett (1981)

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LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. Two books (of three planned) 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 … Book 3 – 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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