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 ...

MARCH 1969 … Enjoy the Moment ... Again! 

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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