50 Years Ago: 1970

Rockin’ your memories to bring you a smile! We’re Rolling through 1970, with flower power, radio, music, mayhem, and life and the DJs who brought it to us. Join us as we explore the melodies and moments of the 1970s and watch history unfold. Remember when ...

APRIL 1970 … Enjoy the Moment ... Again 

Earth Day Cometh & The Beatles Go-eth 

While President Richard Nixon put his John Hancock on a bill to limit cigarette advertisements (took effect the following January), Wisconsin senator, Gaylord Nelson founded our first Earth Day. Americans eagerly celebrated on April 22nd and it’s grown into a movement, not just a day.

Rock and Roll related April celebrations once included an “International ‘Louie Louie’ Day.” Apparently, that fell by the wayside, but WE still remember it, don’t we? Blast from Your Past DJ Ken Chase (aka Mike Korgan) produced The Kingsmen’s version in April 1963 and it still endures as the ultimate party song! ♪ Louie Louie, oh baby | We gotta go …! ♪

Let’s get our dancin’ shoes on and head into a feel-good COVID-19 note about International Guitar Month! April recognizes the many outstanding guitarists and classic strummin’ tunes over the decades. Of course that features incredible Rock and Roll songs.
WMGK/Philadelphia’s Andre Gardner may be broadcasting from home (as are most radio pros these days), but he’s still “cranking up the volume” on this month’s greatest top guitar hits for Philly’s listeners. Watch for Blast from Your Past 1970’s Book 3 (hopefully later this year) with tales of Andre’s broadcasting debut!  

Of course, the song that hits the top of nearly everyone’s “best guitar” tune list, is 1971’s “Stairway to Heaven”* (Led Zeppelin, for those under a rock). But #7 on KFRC’s April 22nd survey 50 Years Ago this Month often qualifies in the top 50 … The Guess Who’sAmerican Woman.” ♪ American Woman | You’re no good for me | And I’m no good for you | American Woman … ♪

Yes, this month’s article is a little long, but I guess I had a lot to say. Hope you’re enjoying the memories. Let’s see what music on the radio played to make the world go ‘round …

50 Years Ago this Month ~ APRIL 1970
It’s true, the Fab Four splintered into four solo acts. The story goes that John Lennon asked for a group divorce back in 1969, so Paul orchestrated The Beatles’ final days, and his first solo album was recorded on the low-down while prepping for a final exit …

April 10th: It’s official! Paul McCartney formally announced The Beatles’ breakup. While the band and fans got used to the idea of a world without The Beatles, Paul masqueraded as a musical “Billy Martin” at the studios to compose, compile and record. And, just a week later …

April 17th: The second solo album by a former Beatles member released on this date, simply and aptly titled, McCartney. You might recall a little ditty written for his beloved Linda, “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you
Meanwhile, the final group effort, “Let It Be,” began its slide down the radio chart lists. Exit … The Beatles … enter … Paul, and soon, on “Wings.”

On Your Tinny Transistor Radio 
This month’s Featured Radio Survey from KFRC/San Francisco not only showcased a playful McCartney on the front cover, but a shaggy-haired Joe Cocker on the back, advertising his upcoming concert at the Filmore West.
Joe recorded “The Letter” on St. Patrick’s Day the previous month and it already claimed #12 with San Fran fans, topping out at #3 by May 20th. Give me a ticket for an airoplane | I ain’t got time to take no fast trainMy baby she wrote me a letter
However, Joe was nowhere to be seen on WTRY/New York’s April 17 Big Sound Survey. On the other hand, were you listening to morning guy Jay Clark when you called to request “Let It Be”? It still held the top spot.

Featured Radio Survey: A bearded Paul McCartney sat comfortably on the cover of KFRC/San Francisco’s Big 30, April 22, 197050 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that groovy day when your radio played … 

[* A note worth making from 1971: Before launching into the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven, Robert Plant comments, “I think this is a song of hope.” Rereading the lyrics, I think he’s right … and it’s hope we need right now. In long form we’re mesmerized throughout ten minutes of Jimmy Page’s mind-bending guitar and Plant’s classic Rock voice that are worth listening to … and thinking of hope … Plant offers other spoken lyrics between stanzas, none more poignant for today than, “Does anybody remember laughter?"
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed | With a word she can get what she came for And a new day will dawn for those who stand long | And the forests will echo with laughter … ♪]

Celebrate APRIL 1970 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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MARCH 1970 ~ Rocking Memory Lane on a Sentimental Journey 

Every relationship that succumbs to “nothing lasts forever,” has a sentimental journey, whether we admit it or not. Just sometimes, it’s tough to remember the good times …

50 Years Ago this Month ~ MARCH 1970  

March 6th: The Beatles rolled out their swan song, "Let It Be" on this date, a full two months prior to the same titled album release, and a month before Paul McCartney announced his departure and dissolution of the band (April 10, 1970).
The Beatles grace the inside of KHJ/Los Angeles’s “Boss 30” Featured* music survey this month on which nary a Fab Four note is seen on the chart. It almost appears that sheepish George, Paul and John are peeking out from behind Ringo’s bravado, as another chapter ends in Rock & Roll history.

March 11th: In case you’re curious about winners from 1970’s 12th Grammy Awards on this date, here’s a few for your tuneful memories – Record of the Year: “Aquarius”/”Let the Sunshine In” (The Fifth Dimension), Best New Artist: Crosby Stills & Nash, Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Female: Peggy Lee for “Is That All There Is?”. Ah … ♪ Let’s just keep dancing ♪ …

March 27th: Rather interesting is Ringo Starr’s release on this day, of his first solo album, Sentimental Journey. Considering only song titles reflecting their imminent break-up, The Beatles’ “Let It Be” (above) let’s them wash their hands of the band, while Starr’s “Sentimental Journey” gives it perspective. Awwww.
            The album is a who’s-who of classic romance and love-lost tunes like, “Stardust” (1927), “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing” (1955), and “You Always Hurt the One You Love” (1944). Was he trying to tell his bandmates something? … ♪ It’s because I love you most of all ♪ …
 
On Your Tinny Transistor Radio ~ MARCH 1970  

Many a Radio DJ has lamented self-deprecatingly, “I have a face only for radio!” It was just the opposite, when the
Real Don Steele showed up at KHJ/L.A.’s door in the mid-Sixties. They soon took advantage of Don’s photogenic California style and tapped him for their “Boss City” TV show by 1970. Smart move.
            Some stations of the era struggled with radio’s progressive changes and upgrades, like one that had a revolving door of formats and call letters, until finding its niche. KFMS/San Francisco began in 1968 at 106.1 as a new FM format for Top 40 power station, KFRC.
            Not only stations, but the FM signal was still fishing for its true calling and KFRC 610 AM established 106.1 as an innovative automated systemone of the first in the country—KFMS. Playing “Late Great and Favorite Goldens,” without the familiar DJ chatter, its chart songs are alphabetical. It listed many of the current hits, but not a rank number in sight.  
No doubt there was a call for simple, round-the-clock favorites, sans all the hype, which lasted until 1972 when it switched call letters again to KKEE, before reverting to KFRC-FM in September 1973. It rested, playing oldies and early soft rock as “K106,” finally finding its (somewhat) forever-home in the late ‘70s. Surely, if you were a NorCal resident then, you recall the KMEL! Yep—106.1 soon became another legendary Rock station of the 1980s.

Featured Radio Survey ~ MARCH 1970  
Though many of us focused on the demise of The Beatles, another breakup was in the works with the duo of Simon & Garfunkel. They too were splitting after a #1 hit, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” calling it quits later in the year. It hit the top at *KHJ/Los Angeles’ “Boss 30,” March 4, 1970 … 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that groovy day when …

Celebrate MARCH 1970 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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February 1970 ~ He Ain’t Heavy … He’s my Metalhead 
50 Years Ago this Month ~ FEBRUARY 1970 
Let’s start by putting 1970 in perspective … a new house cost $10,000 less (about $24,000) than today’s new car … and gas for your car averaged less per gallon than today’s candy bar, on sale. Sigh … now these are stats that truly make us pine for the “good ol’ days”!

Fashion-wise, we were striped, flared, leathered and booted up, swinging our suede fringe and contrarily by night, glowing with evening brocade.

Music-wise, Rock & Roll continued to evolve, adding more of that new weighty sound to the mix … gloom and doom with an eerily heavy hand.
 
You could still find plenty of Psychedelic Pop Rock and sinuous soul on the radio charts, like “Psychedelic Shack” (Temptations) and “The Thrill is Gone” (B.B. King)--#4 & #6, respectively at KFRC 610/San Francisco. But we crashed into our metal years on …

Friday the 13th: Not your ordinary spooky day, it was no accident that an album in the UK, arguably deemed Rock’s initial foray to the dark side, would debut. Great marketing ploy … Want to wallow in doom and despair? Play the opener, “Black Sabbath,” on the self-titled band’s song/album and submerge yourself. Quickly gaining English popularity, it landed in the US in June.
Already considered the devil’s work by super-conservative parents, Rock’s rebel side with Black Sabbath gave February 1970 an edgy, leather-and-metal sound.
By 1971, Geezer Butler (one of Sabbath’s four founding members, including the iconic Ozzy Osbourne) explained their name choice and song title to Rolling Stone magazine, “It’s a satanic world. The devil’s more in control now. People can’t come together, there’s no equality.” Makes great music fodder, and yet … what have we learned in 50 years?

February 27th: On a lighter and incongruous note, our parents still worked at curbing our youthful radical ways, to obvious failure … Jefferson Airplane found themselves fined $1,000 for buoyantly spouting profanity on stage at an Oklahoma City concert. Oh, the horrors of it …
While they are credited with the distinction of the only group to grace the stages of the 1960s’ three most iconic Rock festivals—Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and Altamont—1970 would signal the beginning of the end for San Francisco’s beloved band.

On Your Tinny Transistor Radio ~ FEBRUARY 1970
Why is it that many music groups write and/or record some of their best work as they’re breaking up? Is it “swan song” syndrome? Just released in January, Simon and Garfunkel’s final studio album and title song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” topped the charts in February. ♪
Like a bridge over troubled water | I will ease your mind …♪
            Though Paul Simon wrote the song, he suggested Art Garfunkel’s pure solo vocals best showcased Bridge’s myriad of musical genres for the ultimate soulful sound. His hunch worked. Were you listening to DJ Chuck Browning as he spun Bridge to the top of KFRC/San Francisco’s February 11th radio chart?
 
Of course, it’s Valentines month, and there were plenty of love songs topping the charts in 1970. Another DJ Chuck (Leonard) played them for WABC/New York’s lovesick fans who favored ballads and lost loves early in the month. Shocking Blue gave us “Venus” at #2—She’s got it—while Tom Jones crooned his broken hearted blues “Without Love” (#6) I had nothing, nothing at all.
 
Featured Radio Survey:  Ending the month of love, we began our trip down the music rabbit hole with Three Dog Night’s “Celebrate” moving quickly up the final February chart. Check out WLS/Chicago’s “Hit Parade” survey for February 23, 1970, with DJs Chuck Buell and Kris Stevens to greet you … 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that groovy day when …

Celebrate FEBRUARY 1970 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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January 1970 ~ The Swingin’ Sixties Swing into The Psychedelic Seventies! 

50 Years Ago this Month
We Rocked through the Sixties… now it’s time to Roll into another Golden Decade of Rock & Roll Radio and the DJs who brought us into … the Psychedelic Seventies TM!
     And yes, for those who care, as we dip our toes into the ocean of Golden Oldies, I shall be working side-by-side with the first few months of ‘70s memories, on my 3rd book (finally, again)—The Psychedelic Seventies—in the Blast from Your Past series. I know I’ve been promising it since Book 2 (1960s) published, but ya know … life often gets in the way of our best laid plans. So, I’m back at it! With that update, let’s party on …

On Your Tinny Transistor Radio ~ JANUARY 1970     
The first few weeks of January, *WCFL/Chicago’s top 40 toppers wrestled for the top 5 spots, with no one song staying too long. Until … Sly and the Family Stone got the station’s audience attention and started moving up the chart.
The January 12th survey on ARSA seems normal at first, but looking closely to see where songs were at the beginning of the year, I spotted survey info contributor, Craig Pucci, having some fun with his August 6, 2014 posting … where Sly & The Family Stone appeared at #20, he just had to list their song with the mondegreen title “…Thank You Fa Lettinme Be Mice Elf Agin.” Heehee. Cool. Most other stations went with just “Thank You” and KHJ fans on the “left coast,” liked their “B” side better, “Everybody is a Star.”
Of course, the “straight” song title is “Thank You for Lettin’ Me be Myself Again.” It stayed in the top 10 nearly all the way through February.

January 14th: With their farewell swan song, “Someday We’ll be Together,” barely hanging on the chart’s top 20, Diana Ross & The Supremes headline the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas for a final live concert. Ross headed off to a solo career, snubbing her replacement, Jean Terrell, with a dry, onstage introduction capping the end of the last show.

January 15th: As streaking led us into the promiscuous Seventies, John Lennon continued his self-expressive style, opening an exhibit of lithographs titled Bag One, in The London Arts Gallery. It was short-lived, however, as Scotland Yard confiscated eight of the fourteen lithos, for displaying eroticism. Guess they hadn’t quite caught up with the times, as a case against Lennon for distribution of indecent material was ultimately dismissed.
 
January 21st: Let’s hear it for the wolfman! Every year on January 21st, BFYP celebrates the birthday of our self-proclaimed “Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal,” Wolfman Jack! He’d have been 82 years old this month. BFYP keeps his spirit Rockin’, with the book series dedicated to the innovative, one-of-a-kind DJ.
            One of my favorite quotes from Book 2: This is Wolfman Jack, skinny-dippin’ in the oil of joy down here on XERB, the tower of flower power. Fifty thousand watts of soul power. Awwoooooo!

*Featured Radio Survey: WCFL/Chicago must have thought DJ Jim Stagg needed a younger, more female-appealing sobriquet, so in this January 26, 1970 survey, he is "Jimmy P. Stagg." Alrighty. Either way, he's a cool BFYP DJ, with great behind-the-mic true tales in both Book 1, Book 2 and coming soon (or eventually), Book 3. … 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that groovy day when …

Celebrate JANUARY 1970 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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