Thursday, February 1, 2024

Rock Radio 50 Years Ago FEBRUARY 1974

1974’s Month Two … Rock On!   

Ah yes, a phrase we use often at Blast from Your Past. It’s also the subject of this month’s Song of Note, reminding us of the good ol’ days of Rock & Roll even before 1974. I finally put this article "mostly" together--more images still to come. For now … Rock On! 

FEBRUARY 1974 Radio Muse & News  

If I haven’t said it lately, I love writing these nostalgic Rockin’ articles—whether anyone reads them or not. It’s exhilarating to simply dive into the memories and research to learn anew or again, fun trivia tidbits about the music and times of my yesteryears. Keeps me young. 

There are still many pioneering Rock Radio DJs out there who feel the same, and a fave is my friend, Bill Gardner. He grew up kissin’ the mic to bring music magic and mayhem to tens of thousands of listeners over his many years in the business. I like to feature him here, and pass his memories on to you … did you listen to him at WIBG/Philly, KCBQ/San Diego, or maybe it was KVIL/Dallas-Ft. Worth …

Bill Gardner’s Music Memories ~ “It was exactly fifty years ago,” Bill emailed to me, “January and February of '74 that I joined KVIL/Dallas-Ft. Worth. I can still hear ‘Show And Tell’ by Al Wilson, and ‘Until You Come Back To Me,’ by Aretha, playing in my head. Also, for a one hit wonder, there was ‘Rock On’ by David Essex.”

For more nostalgic fun, let’s go back in music a bit with one of Bill’s KVIL on-the-air memories from my interview with him for the Blast from Your Past books. It’s a snippet coming soon in Book 3: The Psychedelic Seventies. Then, just as now, stations played some beloved “oldies” for listeners …

KVIL (1974) was the first station in America where they were charging $1,200/minute for a commercial; I don’t think there’re stations nowadays that get that much for a 1-minute ad. I remember playing this song “Windy” by the The Association, and saying at the beginning of the song, ‘this is one of my all-time favorite songs, I absolutely LOVE this song, if I could only take five songs to a deserted island with me, this would be one of ‘em. I LOVE this song.’

“So my phone rings and I answer the phone, and this lady asks me, ‘Is this Bill Gardner?’
                 I said, ‘Yeah.’
                 She said, ‘This is
Ruthann Friedman. I wrote that song … and I’m so glad you like it!’ That was just a real cool, cool moment” …

Thank you, Bill, for sharing your memories from back in the day when bein’ a DJ was da bomb!  Bop on over to Bill’s website where he usually updates his “Old Radio Pictures” and memories weekly, so there’s always something new about oldies!

February 4th: Patricia Hearst, 19-year-old granddaughter of publishing magnate, William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped from her Berkeley, California, apartment by the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army). Are you thinking, hey, that has nothing to do with Rock & Roll history! 

Au contraire, Mon ami … but it does. Remember, radio was king 50 Years Ago and hot DJs Tom and Raechel Donahue’s KSAN/San Francisco was right in the thick of the Patty Hearst case. KSAN was known for its political candor and had the ear of the SLA. Coming up in BFYP Book 3 (1970s):

“The radical group chose KSAN to release a tape of Miss Hearsts’ voice after a long, anxious interval of ransom negotiations. A short news clipping (March 12, 1974) accompanied the original photo obtained online, back in 2019 [BFYP Collection]. The clipping did not go into detail and does not mention that Miss Hearst denounced her family and announced her allegiance to the SLA, becoming ‘Tania.’” (Image: News clip published March 12, 1974, of KSAN staff listening to SLA tape.)

February 19th: Ever wonder who won the FIRST American Music Awards? It was on this date in 1974 that Dick Clark Productions asked Helen Reddy (forever known for “I Am Woman” [1972]) to host the AMAs first telecast with Roger Miller (forever tagged with “King of the Road” [1965]) and Smokey Robinson (today, affectionately known for a lifetime of hits, including “Tears of a Clown” [1970]. Helen was then presented with the first award for Favorite Pop/Rock Female artist! Jim Croce never saw his (posthumous) award for the corresponding male artist, but will always be known for his prophetic, “Time in a Bottle.” Unfortunately, the fate of the popular awards show is currently in limbo

On Your Tinny Transistor Radio  
Where were you listening to lovey-dovey tunes in Valentines month, February 1974? WABC/New York, KVIL/Dallas-Ft. Worth, or KCBQ/San Diego? Here’s a sample of what and who you were listening to …

Of course, love songs are a radio station’s mainstays, regardless of melodic genre. It seems, though, that we pay more attention to their heartfelt messages in February. What was at the top of most charts? Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” and “Seasons in the Sun,” by Terry Jacks.

One song in particular, caught my eye … it tied up love and Rock & Roll with a tidy bow 50 Years Ago this Month.

Monthly Song of Note  

Hey kid, rock and roll | Rock on, ooh, my soul … Avid readers of this article won’t be shocked that I just had to make David Essex’sRock On” my monthly Song of Note. I use the phrase often and personally sign off on emails with it. Can’t help it—I grew up when “Rock On” was a trendy CYA. Essex graciously put it into music for us. 

Though it released late summer 1973 in the UK, “Rock On” took a while to make our top ten. But once it did, it zipped up to #2 on KCBQ/San Diego’s “Q Hits” for February 22, 1974. The song battled valiantly for #1 against Terry Jack’s “Seasons in the Sun” but never quite made it …

With “Rock On” Essex tapped into a quintessential Rock song, paying homage to early Rock & Roll, and revered bad-boy actor, Jimmy Dean, with a lotta love. Still looking for that blue jean, baby queen | Prettiest girl I ever seen | See her shake on the movie screen, Jimmy Dean     

Playing all the top tunes on KCBQ/San Diego, 50 Years Ago, pioneering DJ Rich Brother Robbin is known to family and friends as Richard Werges. Along with numerous other KCBQ jocks throughout its heyday years, Rich’s name proudly appears on the mighty monument erected in southeast San Diego suburb of Santee (August 2010).

You can read about Rich’s early days in BFYP Book 2 – Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. “A career DJ, Rich flourished in the Seventies. Popping between San Diego and Los Angeles, his addictive, high-energy, fast-rapping patter kept fans tuning in wherever he sat behind the mic.”

Quirky Band Names  
Blue Swede is the lone
Quirky Band Name on February 1974’s KCBQ/San Diego radio chart Top 25, and not so quirky, if you consider they’re from Sweden. The short-lived group first hit international charts with this month’s “Hooked on a Feeling” cover, originally made popular by B.J. Thomas in 1968. For a few years, they found their niche covering tunes with a built-in following, before fading away in 1979.    

I do, however, have a few Quirky Song Titles for your amusement. Some titles are simply quirky and some are downright obscure, becoming predominantly elusive over the decades … such is the case with “I Been Had By The Devil” by a mysterious Zell Black, coming in at #23 before disappearing altogether. In research, I only found it on Discogs’ or vintage vinyl sale sites. Black does show up on YouTube in a couple of 1975 tunes, “Fly Me” and “You Make the Sun Keep Shining.” Both danceable—a requirement of the era—but not particularly memorable.

Unusual song titles are not necessarily unknown tunes, though, like the Rolling Stones’ macabre “Dancing With Mr. D.” on KCBQ’s chart, coupled at #10A with #10B, their grisly “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo.” Pair a popular band with a catchy tune and you can sell anything.

On a more upbeat note, Rick Derringer was heading up the chart at #21, adding more love to Johnny Winter’s 1970 tune, “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo.” Recording it solo without Winter’s band, it was reportedly his only solo hit.

Today’s Rockin’ Events February 2024    

February 1st: Speaking of Oldies … RAMP, a music reporting site, helped spread the news that longtime Portland, Oregon, radio station, 92.3 KGON, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary! Now an Audacy station, its Classic Rock format has been around since late 1992, but it began broadcasting Rock album-oriented music on this date 1974, opening with the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” In celebration, feel free to share your memories of KGON via voicemail at 458-237-7972!

February 27th: Everyone can get into the mood of this day regardless of age or era—it’s National Retro Day! “Retro” is a state of mind, especially when it comes to Rock & Roll. In the 1970s it was the 1950s & ‘60s bop. Along came the 1990s, and Retro became the 1970s & ‘80s metal. Sigh … and time marches on. Whatever you want to celebrate, just remember, “Retro” is always fun!

Speaking of Retro fun, set your clocks for June this year. That’s when the San Diego County Fair invites us to “Let’s Go Retro” for nearly a month! Click the link for details …

BFYP Featured Radio Survey  
FEBRUARY 22, 1974 ~
KCBQ/San Diego, California: Enjoy this copy of the “Q Hits” of not Top 40 or even Top 30, but Top 25 tunes, “Compiled by ‘Q’ – based on You!” While you were listening, DJ Rich Brother Robbin was swingin’ on the nighttime Q  50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that groovy day when your radio played 

Let’s Celebrate FEBRUARY 1974 and Rock On!  

BFYP Book 1 (1954-1959) on Amazon        
BFYP Book 2 (Swinging ‘60s) on Amazon 
Blast from Your Past Gifts
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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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