50 Years Ago: 1969

Welcome to your memories! We’re rockin' through 1969, slow walkin' and cool talkin' in an era of iconic radio, music, mayhem, and life, that blew our minds. Join us as we explore the final decade of the 1960s and watch history unfold. Remember when ...

JULY 1969 … Enjoy the Moment ... Again!
Anything was Possible … In Mind, Music & the Moon 

There’s no denying we were a spacey lot in the late 1960s. No month confirms that description more than JULY 1969. Let’s ROCKet into space …

50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio 
July 11th:Take your protein pills and put your helmet on … ♪ we’re in for a bumpy ride! David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” was odd, indeed. Though the 7-inch single did well in his native UK after its July release, it caused nary a ripple on US charts, even with the country’s space travel hype in a frenzy.
Its re-release in 1973 however, shot it up to spacey heights for Bowie’s first big hit in the US. Speculation is the ’69 melancholy tune’s rise was stunted in the US until after Apollo 11 touched down safely on the moon …

July 20th: The United States created worldwide news when Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle landed two men, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, on the silvery moon. Well, that’s what it looks like to us. The dusty sphere might have popped some eons-old romanticized bubbles, but it promoted global unity that summer, like we (sadly) haven’t known since.

Let’s add a couple more memories to our out-of-this-world month!
In The Year 2525” is an ethereally depressing tune not directly related to space travel but perhaps its eventual rise to the top twenty was a runoff from spacey thinking, to futuristic fears …
In the Year 2525 | If man is still alive The one-hit-wonder by Zager & Evans released in May, but took a while to work its way up the musical ladder to July 1969 radio charts. It hung ominously at the top for six weeks.

On W’R-IT/Milwaukee, Wisconsin “Pop Power” top 40 for July 7, 1969, while Zager & Evans held the top star, #5 was no slouch for Oliver’sGood Morning Starshine.” The Earth says hello which is about the most intelligent line in the song. And there’s gloomy Earth talk with Credence hit, “Bad Moon Rising,” at #15.
            But my lunar loony favorite is a silly, knee-slapping spoof on the moon landing craze that must have caught the fancy of many, to land on the W’R-IT chart at a lofty #8. How about the astronaut on the ceiling | what’s your name? Moonflight” by Vik Venus, “Alias: Your Main Moon Man,” is a must-listen memory! Even more fascinating is popular WMCA/New York City DJ, Jack Spector (1928-1994), was Vik Venus. (“Moonflight” debuted at #28 on WMCA.)
Mixing faux-media news interview questions with answers from real lines in previous song hits … Let’s talk to the astronaut who just finished eating | How’s the food? …[reply] Yummy, yummy, yummy, I got love in my tummy. ♪ Heehee.

Featured Radio Survey: W’R-IT/Milwaukee’s Pop Power chart of top 40 tunes ran the gamut from moody to moonbeams … and we tagged along for the ride. 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio. That awesome day when … 

Celebrate JULY 1969 and … Rock On!
Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) 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. However, as with everything cyber-security, use at your own discretion. 

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JUNE 1969 ~ Vintage Rock Radio Gauntlet Hits & Misses

 From down-home iconic music to a haunting tune of ancient world apocalypse, June 1969 moved our souls and our imaginations as artists moved up and down the radio survey ladders.

Without iPods and online streaming songs, what did you listen to, “back in the day”? What energetic DJs blared your favorite music through the airwaves? Cousin Brucie on the East Coast? The Real Don Steele in the West? Or Wolfman Jack, who could be heard practically everywhere, even before his American Graffiti fame?

In this middle month of the final year in a turbulent decade, Elvis reminded us of hardships, taking us across the tracks, “In the Ghetto”; Henry Mancini and his Orchestra kept the big band era alive with “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet”; and Tom Jones swiveled his hips to rival Elvis, as he pleaded, “Love Me Tonight.”

50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio
June 7th: Johnny Cash moved from radio to TV when his self-titled show debuted on ABC. It was a big day for Johnny; teamed with Bob Dylan, their Grand Ole Opry Special aired on the same day. Yeehaw!

Jun 11th: "The Ballad of John & Yoko" by The Beatles hits #1 in UK. In the US, the controversial song found us oddly restricted in our rebellion of the era; "The Ballad of John and Yoko" never appeared on WABC/New York or WLS/Chicago radio music charts. After a diligent search (of large market stations), I found it languishing at #26, in WCFL/Chicago’s “Big 10 Count Down” for June 11, 1969. It peaked at #8 before losing power and slipping down the musical ladder.

Jun 21st: Zager & Evans release "In the Year 2525." Best song to ever come out of a cow pasture. Though it moved up quickly, it hadn’t quite made the top ten on WABC/New York’s “Music Power Survey” by June 28th (Featured Survey). Their “Big Bonus” section listed it with other “bubbling under”* tunes. The one-hit wonder hit it big in July, grabbing the top spot by the July 19th survey—c’mon by again next month for an expanded look at this errant humanity song, in 50 Years Ago this Month!
            *A music survey term for those tunes that are scaling the chart ladder, but not quite made it into the ranks—yet, or—maybe never.

Featured Radio Survey: In 1969 were you listening to legendary DJ Cousin Brucie on WABC/New York?  The June 28, 1969 survey featured Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow as “All American of the Week.” He is an honored BFYP Rock & Roll DJ and one of few in all three books, spanning 1950s, ‘60s & ‘70s! … 50 Years Ago This Month in Rock & Roll Radio. That awesome day when … 

Celebrate JUNE 1969 and … Rock On!
  
Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) 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!


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MAY 1969 ~ Behind-the-Mic Scenes of Music & Mayhem 

On the radio in 1969, we heard the DJs rave about a new song, as they slapped it on the turntable and talked over the first few seconds of its spinning, slick vinyl grooves.

“Flamethrower” stations (the big guys) may have transitioned to reel-to-reel tapes, but either way, musicians’ studio recordings personified the best of the bands’ musical prowess … then we began to hear rumors of what went on behind studio mics, or we scored tickets to see them in concert … LIVE … a whole different experience.

50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio
May 10th: By 1969, we were used to hearing about the bad-boy antics of boy bands, and learned of the many real or imagined concert mishaps. But none so prestigious as this one …
Reported by 95.9 The River’s “Today’s Rock History,” “The Turtles and The Temptations performed at the White House for a ball given by President Richard Nixon’s daughter, Tricia. Mark Volman of The Turtles was reported to have fallen off the stage several times.”
Most reports set it as FIVE times. That musta hurt. Or not … until the next day.

May 24th: We were told to “Get Back,” and we didn’t mind a bit! On nationwide average, The Beatles' single clawed its way to #1 on Rock Radio charts, where it stayed for most of another month.
DJ Don Bombard at WOLF/Syracuse, New York, is featured on the cover of their “Hot 30 in the Salt City” survey for May 14, 1969. At that point, “Get Back” cruised to #2; but a week later, peaked in the #1 spot.
Meantime, WABC/New York fans & most Rock stations of the nation, also boosted The Beatles’ “Get Back” to #1 in mid-May, where it stayed on WABC until late June when knocked off the top by the Henry Mancini Orchestra and “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet.” Talk about night and day. From lyrical admonishment to silent amour.
Fun fact or fiction? Per Wiki on “Get Back”: “Lennon also said that ‘there's some underlying thing about Yoko in there,’ saying that McCartney looked at Yoko Ono in the studio every time he sang ‘Get back to where you once belonged.’” Oh my.

Featured Radio Survey: Just before “Get Back” stepped forward on the music scene, WOLF/Syracuse, New York, listed a mighty mixed bag of songs in their top 30 tunes. Who remembers dreamy “Atlantis” at #10 (Donovan – who by the way, celebrates his 73rd birthday May 10th); and at #20, hilariously skewed lyrics of “Bad Moon Rising” (Creedence) … ♪There’s a bathroom on the right! ♪ Check out all the charted hits on WOLF50 Years Ago This Month in Rock & Roll Radio. That awesome day when … 

Celebrate MAY 1969 and … Rock On!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) 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!

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APRIL 1969 ~ Horns Blaring in Chicago! 



Do you remember what you were doing 50 Years Ago this Month? Whether you were dancing to what are now the “Oldies” or protesting on a local college campus, chances are you owned a transistor radio.



New Yorkers may even have been a fan of Warren Garling (aka Chris Warren), better known in ‘69 as DJ “Jesse James” on WSNY/Albany, NY. Want to boogie down Memory Lane with him? You’re in luck! Laugh, reminisce, and hum the Oldies tunes with Warren in his recently published memoirs celebrating 50 Years of Rock & Roll Radio! Remember when we used to say, I’ll Have to ask My Mom”?

Now a BFYP Book 2 jock, eleven-year-old Warren visited WBNR/Beacon, New York studios, came home and declared, “Mom, Dad, I don’t want to be Roy Rogers anymore. I want to be a Radio DJ!” Go now & remember …

50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio
APRIL 11th: Although there truly is an *International "Louie Louie" Day on the official Brownielocks April calendar of events, it celebrates a 1963 happening. So obviously more than 50 Years Ago this Month. But at BFYP we have a vested interest in joining drunk partiers every year on this day. After all, BFYP DJ “Ken Chase”* aka Mike Korgan, produced The Kingsmen’s decades-enduring and endearing version of the iconic party song. A sketchy conflict of interest while working at KISN/Portland, Oregon.
Apparently in a hurry, Mike and the band recorded in it one crazy session, sans any super-professional equipment. Want to learn more? Excerpt from BFYP Book 2 – Ken Chase. And get the whole book on Amazon! Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Louie Louie, oh no / We gotta go … ♪

APRIL 13th: What goes with “Louie Louie” and Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll*? Record Store Day of course! Known for new releases and vintage vinyls spanning the decades, record stores across the country revel in the day with all sorts of entertainment, goodies, specials and discounts. Enter your zip code here to find your local participating stores! (*Spanning 1979-2019, nobody does this song better than Bob Seger.)

April 28th: 50 Years Ago this Month Chicago Transit Authority burst on the Rockin’ scene with a trumpeting blare of horns in their self-titled debut album, garnering a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist of the Year. Their first three top singles, “Questions 67 & 68,” “Beginnings,” and “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” solidified the beginning of their powerful jazzy-Rock sound.

Featured Radio Survey: *Although by 1969 Mike/Ken Chase was long gone from KISN/Portland, we found an April 1969 “Good Guy Survey for the Northwest” at ARSA to tease your memory … 50 Years Ago This Month in Rock & Roll Radio. That awesome day when …

Celebrate APRIL 1969 and … Rock On!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) 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!

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March 1969 ~ Radio Loves Vintage and Timeless Tunes

Some songs, new and old, can be played backward and forward in time. Others will see future generations scratch their heads and wonder, what were they talking about? It’s the one that does both which becomes immortal.

Tunes that transcend time and play solely to our emotions will always endure. Those with a vintage vibe, if allowed, will offer a nostalgic lesson in history, and entertain us. Radio is the conduit—then and now—for a song’s impact on our souls. 

50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio
March 7th: Hint - ♪ He plays by intuition | The digit counters fall ♪… The Who released their Rock opera album tribute to Tommy, the king of everyone’s favorite arcade game, “Pinball Wizard.” It hit the bottom of KHJ/L.A.’s Boss 30 chart on April 2nd and peaked at #13 on April 16th.
            Meanwhile, in the East, it was a no-show on WABC/New York’s March/April/May charts,
but finally showed up on WQAM/Florida’s Fabulous 56 list April 12th at #47.
            “Pinball Wizard” was a catchy, marketable tune with a rather odd, transcendental message that puts it in both the song categories: vintage—what’s a pinball?—and timeless—empathy for the boy’s isolation.
            This positioned it perfectly for the Psychedelic Seventies when “Pinball Wizard” enjoyed an energetic resurrection in the film that visualized the band’s album. Elton John gave Tommy renewed vigor in Ken Russell's 1975 big screen adaptation.

March 8th: What did hit the top of the radio charts this month? Speaking for the East is WQAM 560 ~ “South Florida’s FIRST and Only OFFICIAL Music Survey” where “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival hugged the #1 spot.
Jay & The Americans, a BFYP featured band, struggled to reach #9 with an old favorite, “This Magic Moment.” At the same time, WABC/NY fans gave them a little more love, pushing it up to #5.

Featured Radio Survey: Another ARSA radio chart—WQAM/Florida 560—check out the songs for that joined “Proud Mary” and “This Magic Moment” in the top ten, and clambered through the ranks, like “Games People Play” (Joe South) shooting up the chart to debut at #19 … 50 Years Ago This Month in Rock & Roll Radio. That awesome day when …
March 8, 1969

Celebrate FEBRUARY 1969 and … Rock On!
 
Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) 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!

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February 1969 ~ Rockumentary History in the Making
With The Beatles fresh off their rooftop concert in their final live gig together (January 30th), and The Shondells’ “Crimson & Clover” still topping the radio charts—with Beatles’ songs nowhere in sight—we head into February 1969 asking, what’s next?
 
What came next is actually what came first—and who’s on 2nd, right?

If you listen to Rock and Roll radio stations, you’ve likely heard some version of “The History of Rock and Roll.” Did you know the original debuted at a time when Rock history was still cranking out groundbreaking tunes? And purportedly, “Rockumentary” originated for the occasion …

50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio:
February 21-23rd: KHJ/Los Angeles aired what’s billed as the first history of Rock and Roll. Even then, we realized the music we listened to was history in the making. Time to begin the look back to is Blues and Jazz roots.
Robert W. Morgan was the lucky DJ who debuted the energetic
Rockumentary (later, a version aired with Humble Harve Miller), hosted by venerable Rock radio pioneer, Bill Drake.
Reportedly syndicated (but research not finding its syndication home), the scope of the original History of Rock and Roll begins in the early 1950s and sweeps through the decades to 1981. A mini-“Timesweep” of the Rockumentary’s songs in medley, is broadcast in three parts on YouTube, for the early years, 1954 – 1977 … memory teasers …
            January 1956 – January 1964 History of Rock & Roll Timesweep
            February 1964 – December 1969 History of Rock & Roll Timesweep
            January 1970 – December 1977 History of Rock & Roll Timesweep

Featured Radio Survey: This month, we showcase an infrequent off-site vintage radio survey, to bring you the KHJ/Los Angeles February 5, 1969 edition, hosted on ARSA (Airheads Radio Survey Archive). KHJ of course, advertised prior to the Rockumentary’s debut. Their “Boss 30” chart featured the ad and told us “Mendocino” (Sir Douglas Quintet) topped in at #1 50 Years Ago This Month in Rock & Roll Radio. That awesome day when …

Celebrate FEBRUARY 1969 and … Rock On!
  
Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) 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!

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January 1969 ~ Rise ‘n’ Shine and Rock & Roll in 2019!



Whoohoo! We made it! If you’re reading this, 2018 was a GOOD year. Perils are many in our convoluted world, so New Year’s Eve is more significant every time its glittery night comes around, and we awaken on New Year’s Day.



If you’re eagerly seeking another clean slate, remember there is benefit in looking back—not just over the past year, but reflecting on life as a whole. It helps us take advantage of the road ahead … may it be a golden one for you! Happy New Year!



Looking back at Blast from Your Past, we like to romanticize the “good ol’ days,” and tout early Rock & Roll as the best ever; but from payola to hijacking record labels, we know it wasn’t without its crime and punishment.


Sadly, many labels treated their artists badly and it’s no secret that royalties for some artists were decades—if ever—in the making. Hopefully, the music industry is kinder these days.

Some performers have since written about their fun but frustrating experiences. One such, is an icon
who waited until all the nefarious parties had headed to Hades before cluing us fans in on what he had to endure to bring his music to our wild-‘n’-crazy transistor radios


Tommy James of The Shondells first caught our attention with a little “Hanky Panky” (1966) and followed up with the dreamy “Crimson and Clover”* (1969).

According to his book Me, The Mob, and The Music (2011), Tommy “… tells the incredible story, revealing his complex and sometimes terrifying relationship with Roulette Records and Morris Levy, the legendary Godfather of the music business.”
 
But in 1969 we were oblivious to the shenanigans behind the scenes. With barely fifty words to its name, we sent the wistful *“Crimson and Clover” shooting to the top of the charts just before Christmas 1968, where it stayed through most of January 1969. ♪ Now, I don't hardly know her | But I think I could love her ♪

Reportedly, an early song recorded on 16-track equipment, Crimson was hijacked by WLS/Chicago when Tommy played a rough cut off-the-record (yep, that’s a pun!) and the station secretly recorded it, releasing it as a “world exclusive.” Shame, shame.

All was forgiven, however, as the WLS DJs helped Crimson debut on the Hit Parade” chart at #22 on December 16, 1968. It didn’t stop ‘til reaching #1 on January 13, 1969.

Featured Radio Survey: WKNR/Detroit fans loved “Crimson & Clover” too. Their “Music Guide” floated it up to #1 for the January 2, 1969 chart, keeping it there through the end of the month .50 Years Ago This Month. That awesome day when …

Celebrate JANUARY 1969 and … Rock On!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) 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!

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