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 
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* “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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