Monday, April 1, 2024

Rock Radio 50 Years Ago ~ APRIL 1974

Rockin’ April Nights and City Lights 

Didja enjoy March’s World Piano Day? Well, for you hummers and strummers, it’s time to rummage around in your closet for International Guitar Month!

Sadly, the sponsoring site hasn’t been updated since 2020, but I found another option for you part-time pickers to explore. My Guitar Lair has a 2021 article about Guitar Month, but their blogs about techniques and tips is current and relevant. Let’s get strumming … 50 Years Ago this Month   

APRIL 1974 Radio Muse & News  

April 5th: Who were the lucky ones to see Van Halen in concert for the first time? Taking the stage at the famed Hollywood A Go Go (Gazzarri’s) on the Sunset Strip, Van Halen appealed to the hard-edged Rockers in the audience and never looked back. Although the club’s owner complained they were too loud, they scored a regular gig there. After previous years of building their band from garage to stage, the Van Halen brothers (Eddie and Alex) were soon on their way up the musical fame ladder. 

April 8th: Heading deeper into a new life without the Beatles, Paul McCartney & Wings released “Band on the Run.” The largely symbolic tune, written by Paul and Linda McCartney, lead the band running up the music charts to become an enduring anthem tune for them. All I need is a pint a day | If I ever get out of here  

On Your Tinny Transistor Radio  
Where were you feeling fresh as Springtime, enjoying city lights and April nights in 1974? Walkin’ the streets of New York, Des Moines, Iowa, or then-revered San Francisco, California? Here’s a sample of what and who you were listening to … 

#1 songs varied widely across the country: DJ Dan Ingram was “Hooked On A Feeling” by Blue Swede, spinning the vinyls in New York’s WABC studio; while Ted Scott, music director for Des Moines’ KFMG tallied callers’ votes to find “Locomotion” by Grand Funk, at the top of their chart. 

However, I have a rare, quirky little survey sheet from San Francisco’s creative K-101 that reportedly began the radio dial trend of pairing call letters with their dial position. Creative too, were the 101.3 fans who wasted no time boosting “The Entertainer”* movie theme instrumental from The Sting, to #1, well before the other two stations. (*Written by Scott Joplin in 1902, reimagined and rearranged by Marvin Hamlisch for the movie.) See our Featured Radio Survey for more!  

Monthly Song of Note
With crooning horns and a soul-funk heart full of love for a city and a girl,
Tower of Power hit the San Francisco, California, charts with “Below Us, All the City Lights.” I couldn’t resist its soul-soothing, sentimental sound, from back in the day, when Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area could hold its head up. Memories …

Interestingly, K-101 fans pushed the largely unknown “Below Us…” to #7 this week, despite most everyone else liking better, the Back to Oakland album’s “Don't Change Horses (In the Middle of a Stream).” But even that one didn’t reach anyone’s Top Ten list. If you’re hankerin’ for some Tower of Power time, their 2024 tour touts Tower of Power 40th Anniversary album recorded (2011) in San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium and now available in translucent orange … cool. The night stood still for just a moment | As we share that crystal feel   

Quirky Band Names
Hey, baby, we’ve got style, with
The Stylistics and like Tower of Power, they’re still going strong! Members of the group when getting together in 1966, came from competing Philly groups, “The Percussions” and “The Monarchs.” A guiding hand by their high school English teacher, Beverly Hamilton, helped the singers find their artistic style and their new name. The two remaining original guys, Herbert Murrell and Airrion Love, have been friends since junior high school and still cruise the country sharing their inimitable style.  

According the WIKI: in the first half of 1970s, The Stylistics … had twelve consecutive R&B top ten hits, including "Stop, Look, Listen", "You Are Everything", "Betcha by Golly, Wow", "I'm Stone in Love with You", "Break Up to Make Up" … and, making the Top Ten lists April 1974, "You Make Me Feel Brand New"; all of which earned them five gold singles and three gold albums. 

APRIL 2024 Music Events & More    

So what’s happening today in Oldies music? Celebrate …

Thursday ~ April 11th: Let’s dance! It’s “Louie Louie Day”! What rock have you been under if you haven’t heard of “Louie Louie”? The 1957 R&B song released by Richard Berry, was eventually made infamous in 1963 by the Kingsmen (produced by Ken Chase, aka Mike Korgan, one of BFYP’s featured Radio DJs). We celebrate the Pop-Rock version on Richard Berry’s birth date (1935-1997), despite WIKI’s suggestion that it defines … “ur-text of punk rock.” Nah—it‘s R&B/Rock and we just love to party with it. Rock On! 

Thursday ~ April 18th: Around the world, we honor World Amateur Radio Day. Although it encompasses much more than just Rock and Roll Radio as we love it, the IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) is likely the reason it was possible for very young, aspiring radio broadcasters to evolve into our celebrated DJs. Next year they’ll be commemorated in “A Century of Connections: Celebrating 100 years of Amateur Radio Innovation, Community, and Advocacy”. Congratulations and thank you.  

Saturday ~ April 20th: We’ve loved our vinyl record stores since the day they were a mere section of our local “dime stores.” If you haven’t been for a while, go today! It’s Record Store Day and special album drops along with new and collectible vinyl records are waiting for you. According to its site, “On the first Record Store Day, April 19, 2008, Metallica spent hours at Rasputin Music in San Francisco meeting their fans.” See what’s new!  

April 21st-27th: Now that you have your new records, is it time for a sing-a-long? Wet your whistle and prep for National Karaoke Week. There seems to be no official sponsor for this week, but what would Rock & Roll Radio be without the medium that spreads musical love?? Surely a location near you is hosting a lively night of audience fun, whether you-all call it “singing” or not! The link I included is for a San Diego watering hole … find yours and sing to your heart’s content. Or host your own celebration at home—singing soothes the soul, ya know. 

BFYP Featured Radio Survey

APRIL 17, 1974 ~ K-101/San Francisco, California … I couldn’t help but laugh when I noticed that their #3 tune, “My Mistake” (Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye) came just before they erred with #4’s title, “I Don’t Last a Day Without You” (Carpenters). Of course, it should be “Won’t.” An oddly plain music chart for the decade that spoke in graphics, it doesn’t sport even one little ‘70s squiggly art line … 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that
groovy day when your radio played 

Let’s Celebrate APRIL 1974 ~ And Rock On!  

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 “X”/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 PastTM series, available on Amazon: Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959TM (eBook only; coming soon in updated print edition) and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging SixtiesTM (eBook & print). Coming soon-ish … Book 3 – The Psychedelic Seventies!TM 

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. This site is wholly owned by LinDee Rochelle & sponsored by PenchantForPenning.comTM. 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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