50 Years Ago

Welcome to your memories ~ 50 Years Ago this Month

Fun Radio and Music notes that take you back to our tuneful golden memories of 1967.  

Dog Days of Summer Distraction

Well ... August seem stubborn in more ways than one. Can't get this page to update. Will keep trying; hope you'll come back again soon. Sorry! In the meantime, the August 1967 article is here ...

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Emulated, but Never Duplicated

July—every year since 1776 we’ve begun the month with a bang! In radio, the big bang also pays tribute to the death of Wolfman Jack, July 1, 1995. He was the self-proclaimed “Original Rock & Roll Animal.”
I prefer celebrating births rather than deaths, and while Wolfman is an integral part of my book series, July 1967 deserves to be celebrated for other reasons in this era. 

Certainly we honor the Wolfman, who to this day is oft-imitated but remains one-of-a-kind.

And July is of course, a celebration of the US Declaration of Independence’s final approval. Let’s light the fireworks for a couple other reasons.

In music and radio, July ’67 was the middle month in the Summer of Love. The radio charts, scattered love songs amongst grooves of Psychedelic Rock, which gained ground in part, through popularity with returning Vietnam soldiers. Music was essential to many soldiers, and Psychedelic Rock embodied their extreme mix of swirling emotions.

Still in the clutches of the war, 50 years ago we endured the most devastating single-day loss this month, by the Marines, in Operation Buffalo.

And The Beatles’ song, “All We Need is Love,” became even more poignant at the top of the radio charts. A “love song” for sure, but considered one of their most political tunes. (The boys even wore flowers in their hair for the Our World global premiere of the song, June 25, 1967.)

Listeners at KACY/Santa Barbara applauded their local DJ, Steve Sands (Sandoval) on the cover of the July 28th survey, as he soon enlisted in the US Army. At the same time, KACY fans boosted “All You Need is Love” to #10 (up from #14 previous week), stabilizing it at #3 in the next couple of weeks.
Where did the iconic Beatles song land on the charts in your neck of the woods? Don’t recall? Bop on over to The Airheads Radio Survey Archive, enter a radio station or city, and enjoy a leisurely stroll down Memory Lane!

Would you rather listen to than view memories of the ‘60s? Strap on your headphones and head over to YouTube to download my audio interview with DJ David “Ghosty” Wills, reminiscing about pioneering DJs, and Book 2 in the Blast from Your Past! series – Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties.

Wolfman Jack and The Beatles … emulated, imitated, but never duplicated.

Featured Radio Survey: DJ Steve Sands at KACY/Santa Barbara was one of (I’m sure) many jocks who entered service 50 Years Ago this Month. Check out KACY’s music survey for July 28, 1967. The top fifteen gave us love with “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” to following your fantasy in “White Rabbit,” at #1.

Celebrate JULY 1967: 50 Years Ago and … Rock On!

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It’s Officially the “Golden Summer of Love” 


Unreal. Groovy. Surrealistic. Here we are … we have arrived in the future, my fellow Rockin’ Boomers! How did we get here?!

Fifty Years Ago this Month, we were part of an authentic “happening” … an epiphany … a true phenomenon … the “Summer of Love.”

I attended the KFRC/San Francisco Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival the weekend of June 10-11. It transformed the serene top of Mount Tamalpais into a swirling haze of musical mayhem and dancing Mary Janes. Breathe deep …

It was not pure mountain air, m’dears! But it was a celebration of young and old, hippies and button-downs, and a whole lotta Rock & Roll. This was the weekend that slid us into the Summer of Love.

KFRC may have been mostly Top 40 fare the Summer of ‘67, but their innovative support broke the ceiling for progressive Rock that weekend. The brainchild of Program Director, Tom Rounds, its lineup included an eclectic spectrum of performers from Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, and The 5th Dimension, to Country Joe and the Fish, The Steve Miller Band, and fast-chart-climbers, The Doors.

The Fantasy Fair, while grudgingly acknowledged as the first large scale outdoor Rock / Pop concert, was outstripped by a bigger event a few weeks later. But the Monterey Pop Festival with nearly double attendance, certainly didn’t dampen the Fair’s status for avid Rock fans. In fact, MPF benefitted from the Fair’s success. More importantly, the Fair operated as an altruistic charity benefit, without the MPF’s commercial business vibe.
Sadly, very few images and only a couple of truncated film clips survived the decades. But as long as memory survives, the weekend that kicked off the 1967 Summer of Love will live again.

As for today … look around you … young and old still love mind-altering drugs, we still protest for love, not war, and this year has seen more society and political upheaval than there has been since the Sixties. Put a flower in your hair, “White Rabbit”* in your headphones, and welcome the “2017 ‘Golden’ Summer of Love”!  

Featured Radio Survey: While KFRC’s listeners discovered new music and a new way to party at the Fantasy Fair, in Lexington, Kentucky, WVLK fans stuck with the Top 40. What the “Mighty 590” lacked in radio station polish they made up for in advertising ingenuity. Check out the music survey that doubled as an ad agent’s promo, week of June 10-16, 1967 …

Celebrate JUNE 1967: 50 Years Ago and … Rock On!

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LIKE if you like!

Groovin’ with Respect, May 1967 

Most radio stations across the country charted “Groovin’” by The Young Rascals in the top five, 50 Years Ago this Month. With a lot of “Respect” from Aretha Franklin, they leap-frogged each other up the charts to vie for the #1 and #2 golden spots for much of latter May.
KXOA/Sacramento and WABC/New York were “Groovin’” at the top of their surveys for the week of May 17th and 19th (respectively). KFRC/San Francisco gave their listeners “Respect” at the top, with Ed Mitchell spinning the tunes for you from 9 a.m. ‘til noon, on the Big 610.

What else happened in May 1967? Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll, baby!

-       The “secret’s” out of the bag! Spunky head Beatle, Paul, admitted they’d all dropped acid at one time or another.

-       Women everywhere swooned with envy as Priscilla Beaulieu married hunky Elvis Presley at the Aladdin in Las Vegas. Viva Las Vegas!

-       Not wanting The Beatles to hog all the limelight, Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones did them one better (or worse)—and found themselves in lock-up on drug charges.

-       Repercussions? The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” suffered in the UK charts as BBC took their drug admissions seriously, and banned it.

-       May 25:
-       Defiance? Never let others dictate your personality, was John Lennon’s motto as he drove off in his newly renovated Psychedelic Rolls Royce.

-       Does it seem The Beatles dominated the late Sixties? Well, yes. But that doesn’t mean other great music wasn’t happening.

Featured Radio Survey: KFRC/San Francisco’s Big 30 for May 17, 1967, gave Aretha and their listeners the “Respect” we deserved. Capturing the moment in music, we heard Lou Rawls lament a “Dead End Street” at #5, and a peek into the upcoming Summer of Love, with “The Flower Children” (Marcia Strassman) hugging the #9 spot. Here’s the full top ten

Celebrate MAY 1967: 50 Years Ago and … Rock On!
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An Over-the-Shoulder Peek at April 1967 

50 Years Ago this Month saw Psychedelic Rock force its swirling climb up the charts, gaining heat as we moved closer to the torrid Summer of Love.

We began the month on a high note, at the top of WABC/NY’s All American Survey April 8, 1967, “Happy Together” with The Turtles.

Not all DJs were happy together however, with radio broadcasting formats. FM stations began playing follow-the-leader, finding their footing outside the Jazz genre, in AOR and other diverse areas. Especially after DJ Tom Donahue signed on at KMPX/San Francisco, Friday, April 7, 1967. Always a rebel, Tom began his push for Freeform Rock, combined with an all-female engineering staff. It worked.

Need more to celebrate April 1967? Party on, for “Louie Louie” Day, April 11th; and have you hugged your vinyl record store owner lately? The tenth annual Record Store Day, spins off April 22nd. (Though you can start as early as the 15th for some.)

By month’s end in the Top 40, frustrated and disillusioned, we lamented toiling at our jobs with The Easybeat’s
Friday on My Mind” at #12, on WABC’s April 29 survey. Following on its heels, we protested with Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”* at #13. Although the tune took two weeks to climb its way to the middle of the pack, that didn’t reflect on its emotional impact.

The mood of the moment is capsulized in a nice long excerpt from the newly released BFYP (e)Book 2 – Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties! Like many of his listeners, DJ Neale Blase, objected to the Vietnam War.

Doing so on the radio though, generally didn’t sit well with station management. One night, as Neale broadcast live in a special airing with Armed Forces Radio on KOMA/Oklahoma City …

“Here’s a song for Private Bob Smith from his wife in Montana … she’s hoping that you’ll be home soon, safe and sound … and by the way, Bob, we all want you guys home soon, because you shouldn’t even be there. So for all of you guys over there … listen very closely to the lyrics of this song.” KOMA listeners heard Buffalo Springfield warn, “There’s a man with a gun over there …” *

Aware of his opportunity as a DJ to comment on news of the day, Neale said, “I can’t tell you how many times we would talk over the intro of a song and express our views in a very compatible tone of voice, with the tempo of the song. Never underestimate the power of subtlety.” Read the rest of Neale’s Swinging Sixties story, here.

Featured Radio Survey: In view of this lengthy post, and the lamentable fact I don’t have an April ’67 vintage radio survey in the BFYP Collection, we’ll continue to enjoy the March KFRC/San Francisco survey, and bounce back with more than enough May ’67 surveys next month. Top 30 station, KFRC, tipped the iceberg of our music revolution. But the depth of its love came from the base of FM underground music that would soon emanate from KMPX and DJ Tom Donahue. Check out the eclectic mix in the March 1, 1967 KFRC Big 30 chart.

Celebrate APRIL 1967: 50 Years Ago … Rock On!

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Happy Together Marching through 1967 

March ’67 caught some of us watching the boob tube as THRUSH in Man from U.N.C.L.E. rushed to convert sea water to gold.

Or were you day-trippin’ on the Electric Prunes’ tune “I Had Too Much to Dream”? The Psychedelic song struggled for an audience from November 1966 until it finally broke through to the top ten of our handy-dandy transistor radio stations this month, 50 years ago.

The Electric Prunes hit slipped a notch to #6 on KFRC/San Francisco’s March 1st Big 30 chart. But love cured the hangover with the Turtles’ “Happy Together” at #1.  

The Five Americans (a BFYP Book 2 band) were ready to ride the airwaves to the top in KFRC’s Big Hit Bounds list, with “Western Union,” as we take a Spring break before the now infamous Summer of Love. We’ll bring you whatever 50th anniversary news we can rustle up starting in June!

A year of magic and mayhem in radio and life, we tried desperately to maintain our innocence while the Vietnam War colored our vision as profoundly as John Lennon’s rose-colored spectacles.

In spite of, or maybe because of, the country’s turmoil and turbulence, by June the radio charts' top tune was on its way to top record and top song in the 10th Grammy Awards (1968). We were obviously looking for bright optimism in the 5th Dimension’s “Up, Up and Away.”  “… the world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon …”

Featured Radio Survey: In 1967 San Francisco channeled all the love it could muster into its music. Top 30 station, KFRC, tipped the iceberg of our music revolution. But the depth of its love came from the base of FM underground music that would soon emanate from KMPX and DJ Tom Donahue. Check out the eclectic mix in the March 1, 1967 KFRC/San Francisco Big 30 chart.

Celebrate MARCH 1967: 50 Years Ago … Rock On!

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Lingering Lovelights 

No doubt, St. Valentine’s Day had something to do with “Dedicated to the One I Love” scaling WABC/New York’s survey ladder in one GIANT leap, from an obscure #57 on February 25, 1967 to #15 the following week.

The Mamas & Papas’ favorite nearly wore out the station’s turntables as we lingered in its lovelights for another month, propelling it all the way to #3 by April 8th.

Elsewhere in the February 1967 Rock & Roll Radio landscape, we have some fun listening to entertaining pioneering DJs’ airchecks at ReelRadio.com! Join us as Jan Gabriel hams it up at WJOB/Hammond, Indiana; The Real Don Steele keeps KHJ/Los Angeles listeners on their toes; and our “fuddy duddy buddy,” Dr.Don Rose,* razzes his radio audience at WQXI/Atlanta, Georgia, in February 1967. (Far left, Feb 1968 survey, but still … 😉 )

HUGE aircheck announcement for you Radioheads! Uncle Ricky, who owns the ReelRadio.com non-profit vintage airchecks site, is reconverting it to FREE access (like when it began in 1996) toward the end of March. 

But PLEASE support his herculean efforts any time with a donation,* to thank him and ensure ReelRadio remains an enduring and endearing go-to site. As he says, “a ‘free’ site will kill us, or make us grow.” Let’s help him grow! (*This is not an ad, and Uncle Ricky didn’t ask me to post it. I just LOVE his site. It has been invaluable to me for writing the BFYP books.)

Featured Radio Survey: Since I don’t have a February 1967 radio survey in the BFYP Collection, I’ve posted a KCBQ/San Diego tribute survey featuring BFYP DJ Jack Vincent, for December 10, 1961. He began spinning vinyls in Rock & Roll Radio Heaven on January 29th, escorted by East Coast fave DJ, Herb Oscar Anderson, best known at WABC/New York. R.I.P. gentlemen.

Celebrate FEBRUARY 1967: 50 Years Ago … Rock On!

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 1967 spun Rock & Roll music on its ear, as the new FM radio stations spun us on our ears. Far out, man.

Sonny and Cher assured us “The Beat Goes On” (up to #13 on the KFRC/San Francisco survey, January 18, 1967), but this year spearheaded the second phase of 1960’s Rock music battle between love and war, with epic, intricate beats.

Not just a little influenced by psychedelia, Rock music rose to new heights—literally and figuratively.

By the end of the month, West Coast counterculture bands had donated their time and music to the first San Francisco Hare Krishna fundraising concert. Historic, not only because of its mind-expanding highs but the incredible, mind-blowing music.

Headlining the Avalon Ballroom for the Mantra-Rock Dance (January 29th) were Psychedelic Rock innovators, Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, and Big Brother and the Holding Company. The event also featured LSD advocate, Timothy Leary. Go figure.

Live music and AM radio’s tunes weren’t much in sync, though, as January radio surveys still reflected soft love songs, albeit tinged with an edgier electronic guitar. The Airplane’sMy Best Friend” hit #10 on KFRC’s Big 30 (January 28, 1967), but it was just a hint of their more surrealistic sounds coming up.

Climbing the chart to truly kick off the Psychedelic Rock year, we find The Electric Prunes at #26, admitting, “I Had too much to Dream Last Night.” Yeah, baby.

Thanks to upstart FM stations like KMPX/San Francisco and KPPX/Los Angeles (think Tom and Raechel Donahue) along with live performances, the month, ended turning guitar solos and love ballads into mind-twisting musical experiences.

*And into the night you'll fade, knowing you lost the game | And just how she got her name of | The Snow Queen

Welcome to January 1967! Happy New Year 50 Years Ago this Month!

Featured Radio Survey: This month I have to go outside the BFYP vintage survey collection. Darn. Can’t believe I don’t have any January 1967 radio charts. However, one of my fave research sites is the Airheads Radio Survey Archives ... what I don’t have, they do … and then some! Enjoy the KFRC/San Francisco Big 30 chart list for January 28, 1967 here; but if you love retro Rock & Roll, you must visit their searchable site. It’s awesome!

Celebrate JANUARY 1967: 50 Years Ago … Rock On!
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* “The Snow Queen” by Roger Nichols & The Small Circle of Friends, #14, January 28, 1967, KFRC/San Francisco Big 30.

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50 Plus 10 = 1956 

Wow—how did we get here?! Not only another year gone, but … 50 Years Ago this Month!!

Searching for December 1966 radio and music news and views, turned up a rather placid time in Rock Radio.

The top five songs on KFRC/San Francisco’s “Big 30” (12/14/66) for example, glorified and vilified love—nothing new there.

Hearts on a string, we were singing along with the top three pop tunes: 1) “I’m a Believer” (Monkees); 2) “Winchester Cathedral” (New Vaudeville Band); and 3) “Tell It Like It Is” (Aaron Neville). A-vo-dee-oh-doe!!
But every December, here at Blast from Your Past, we choose to celebrate the birthing day of Alan Freed (December 15, 1921)—the “father of Rock & Roll Radio DJs.”

This month, we add ten years to our 50 Years Ago this Month writings to venerate Mr. Freed. We owe our fifty years-plus-ten mantra to the man who first thundered, “Let’s Rock & Roll!!”?

1955’s Blackboard Jungle film, which featured Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock, inspired tons of teens to dance in the theater aisles.

Hot off its success, Mr. Freed appeared in two iconic Rock & Roll films the following year, Rock Around the Clock (March), and Rock, Rock, Rock (December).

As it’s said on Wiki, “In the 1956 film Rock, Rock, Rock, Freed tells the audience that ‘Rock and Roll is a river of music that has absorbed many streams: rhythm and blues, jazz, rag time, cowboy songs, country songs, folk songs. All have contributed to the big beat.’"

And the beat goes on* … Thank you, Mr. Freed.

Featured Radio Survey: The closest KFRC’s December 1966 chart came to offering a 1956 Rockin’ song sound-alike was at #5, Mitch Ryder’s “Devil with the Blue Dress On.” The rest of the chart lineup went like this

Celebrate DECEMBER 50 Years Ago … and Rock On!

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* Sonny and Cher hit the January 1967 charts with “The Beat Goes On.” See ya 50 Years Ago 2017!
Old "Time" Rock & Roll! Buy at CafePress

  NOVEMBER 1966 

Coming of Age with the Age of Aquarius 

Raise your hand—how many of you Boomers came of voting age in November 1966? 50 Years Ago this Month we found it tough to apply politics to the late 1960s’ New Age philosophies and ethereal Age of Aquarius. So we turned to music …

In November 1966 we voted The Beach Boys to the top of the charts with “Good Vibrations,” and spent our evenings exploring pop psychology rather than politics, to Donovan’sMellow Yellow.” Radio charts reflected our chaotic minds.

Logging a short stint at KBLA/Los Angeles, pioneering Rock DJ, “Humble Harve” Miller, waxed our ears with vinyl tunes that ran the gamut from “Winchester Cathedral” (at #3, New Vaudeville Band) to the anything-but-weepy “96 Tears” (at #7, ? & the Mysterians).

So, what was your fave November ’66 song? “Don’t Keep Me Hangin’ On” (at #2, The Supremes)—take a hike down Memory Lane and let me know the path you took! Post ‘em at Blast From Your Past – Let’s Rock!

Beneath the surface in 1966, however, the vibrations were anything but mellow. In two short years we would vote in another contentious election. “The presidential election of 1968 was one of the most chaotic in American history, reflecting a time that was in many ways equally chaotic,” says John Gardner of PBS.org.

Two assassinations (Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy) and the Vietnam war, colored the field and left us with few palatable choices. Sigh—is “change” a myth? 

Featured Radio Survey: KBLA was a vibrant force for the Los Angeles Rock scene, November 1966. Apparently rich and successful, they were even giving away a Rolls Royce! At least, that’s what their November 14, 1966 “Super 30” survey said ...

Celebrate NOVEMBER 50 Years Ago … and Rock On!

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  OCTOBER 1966 
Owwwwoooo! October’s a Scream!

Were you like me, eagerly anticipating … and dreading … October’s arrival? (Hence the late post.)

Halloween – YEAH! But Holidays … bah humbug! I’m just not ready to go there. So, let’s Rock instead!

ROCK-tober is truly my favorite month of the year, with Halloween as my beloved “non” holiday. All the fun without the stress!

What songs did we howl along with 50 Years Ago this Month? Cherish* your Sunshine Superman

KFRC / San Francisco’s top ten for Halloween week 1966 had us crying “96 Tears” at #1 by ? & the Mysterians (yes, they used a question mark for their name). Only “Psychotic Reaction” (Count Five) at #9, came close to getting us in an eerie mood.

For mystique, the state of California tried to alter our state of minds, as it declared LSD officially illegal on October 6, 1966—which sent many into a Zombie rage, raising the dead and smashing pumpkins—making it nearly impossible to distinguish our politicians from All Hallow’s Eve ghouls. Fifty years later, nothing has changed. (Please know I’m being facetious - sorta.)

From ghosts to witches, hallowed ceremonies to pumpkin parties, eerie screams to Wolfman Jack’s howls, Halloween celebrants love to let loose.

There is always a witch’s cauldron-full of frightening community events, and a fun round-up of spooky music on your local Radio station.  

If scary isn’t your thing, a pretend solution is to gather the family for classic TV special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” and celebrate its 50th anniversary! (Airs October 19th on ABC—record and replay!)

Whatever your festivities, or if opting for a homebound night of creepy news … I mean, movies … enjoy your last shred of sanity before the scary-mad dash for New Year’s Eve! 

Featured Radio Survey: Were you in Chicago for Halloween in 1966? You’ll likely remember devilish DJ Jim Stagg chatting with the beastly Beatles. While the survey isn’t very scary, the 10-06-66 date might spook you! (*Cherish and Sunshine Superman both hit the top ten in Stagg’s Hit Line Sound Survey.)

OCTOBER 50 Years AgoRock On!
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Hurry! Don’t Miss the Last Train to School! 

Before September 1966 our favorite primate was Kala – Tarzan’s Great Ape mother – or Ham the Astrochimp. Then we heard, “Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees!”

September 12th 50 Years Ago this Month The Monkees debuted on NBC. But their first hit single wasn’t their theme song. By the show’s opening night, “Last Train to Clarksville” was already climbing the charts, at #28 on WOKY/Milwaukee’s “Lucky Number” survey for September 9th.

Shortly after, WFIL 560 AM in Philly, pulled a switcheroo so they could have fun too. So long, MOR (middle of the road stuff) and hello Top 40: “The Pop Explosion – Famous 56”!

What were you doing in September 1966? Listening to the radio? Where? Who was your fave DJ? Tell me! Might end up in a book …

Featured Radio Survey: Take a look at the WOKY/Milwaukee, week ending September 9, 1966 with a survey that watched The Monkees climb – bringing back memories yet? A little help: “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan shined its way to the #1 spot.

Celebrate SEPTEMBER 50 Years AgoRock On!

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  AUGUST 1966 

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer 1966! 

You haven’t lived until you’ve cruised the drag in a classic convertible, the hot summer sun baking your brain, while you bellow, “They’re Coming to Take Me Away”* (ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-ha!). Well, they probably should have … 50 Years Ago this Month!

The KRLA/Los Angeles radio chart, week of Aug 13, 1966, pushed this lazy, hazy, crazy days-of-summer song to #1, leading the way for other novelty songs to scramble up the Top 40 ladder. Was it the heat? The campy song sounds like a love lament on steroids – it was – for his dog.

Napoleon (producer/songwriter/engineer, Jerry Samuels) flipped again on the flip-side, with “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” written – and recorded – backwards. "!aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT"  Hmmm, definitely the heat.

*Napoleon XIV was followed closely on the KRLA chart, by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs with “Li’l’ Red Riding Hood” at #5, and The Troggs filled our minds with “Wild Thing” (#18).

From silly to somber, it seemed someone was in a hurry to end the summer – or at least the weird songs – as “See You in September” (the Happenings) made the KHJ/Los Angeles survey’s “Hit Bound” list early in the month, crooned its way up to #9 by the end of August.

Since I don’t have an August 1966 survey in the BFYP collection to feature, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Jack Vincent, longtime R&R Radio DJ for San Diego’s KCBQ (retired) a speedy recovery from recent illness. 

The nonagenarian was an Errol Flynn twin-looker “back in the day,” and one of KCBQ’s Good Guys in the 1960s. He was and is a role model for legendary DJs like Shotgun Tom Kelly, Neil Ross, Bill Gardner and so many awesome broadcasters over the years. Get well quick, Jack!

Featured Radio Survey: For your fun and enjoyment – a KCBQ/San Diego “Hit Parade” from the week of August 28, 1966 – accessed at ARSA Survey Search. The most comprehensive list (and many images) of radio charts/surveys, I’ve found on the ‘Net! KCBQ listeners still had “See You in September” as high as #6. Slap it on the turntable, Jack!

Celebrate AUGUST 50 years ago and … Rock On!

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  JULY 1966    

Fed Up with War – On Radio Charts We Were Makin’ Love! 

July starts out with a bang every year in grand celebration of our illustrious country. Sustaining the American patriotic enthusiasm is the challenge.

Especially when 50 Years Ago This Month our music of the moment emphasized our desire to make love, not war.

Though WMEX/Boston in July 1966 patriotically declared DJ Larry Justice's “Music and Justice for All” on their “15 and Ten Survey,” the hits were enough to make you swoon.
As a July 4, 1966 KOWN survey attests for then, rural San Diego County, we were heating up our summer with anything but war songs. “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James and The Shondells held the #1 spot at KOWN/Escondido, California, on the Independence Day weekend.
Following close behind at #2 was “Searching for My Love,” by Bobby Moore & the Rhythm Aces. Mmmm, that smooth soulllllll sound. (See the rest of the survey’s love-song list on our Featured Radio Survey page.)

BFYP DJ, Neale was a "fishbowl" DJ!
The locals-only 1,000-watt radio station was small, but proud with “It’s What’s Happening” as the “Only Official Music Survey for North San Diego County.”

How could it not be popular? Its prime location with fishbowl windows to watch the DJs in action, made it a fun and provocative, hot summer night teen hangout.

Where did you celebrate this month of 1966? Ahhh, go ahead – take a sparkly red, white & blue walk down Memory Lane. Enjoy the moment … again!

Featured Radio Survey: Of course, it’s the rare, KOWN/Escondido official survey for July 4, 1966! “145-KOWNighttime” was on-air 7:00p to midnight, with Mike Larsen spinning your fave vinyls …

Celebrate this month 50 years ago and … Rock On!

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  JUNE 1966 
Fast Talkin’ Slow Walkin’ DJ Dude

WXYZ/Detroit, June 1966 – was BFYP DJ Joey Reynolds ahead of his time? This guy can TALK and that he did – fast – while grabbing records for the turntable and slapping down The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

WXYZ was too proud to give up the music biz through the highs and lows of the charts, but finally opened the conversation for a talk format in 1984.

Back in 1966 the top 40 station followed the Rock & Roll crowd, beat for formatted beat. Think Joey looks bored in his jock picture on WXYZ’s music chart? He was. But why?

My 2008 interview with Joey pinpointed when stringent station formatting became unbearable. “I quit [radio] — in 1967-68. I didn’t want any more of it, I hated it. I wasn’t going to be playing something that someone thought the audience wanted.” And there you have it! [Joey’s story and more in BFYP-Book 2, The Swinging Sixties, coming this fall.]

Of course, you who have reveled in Joey’s fast patter over the decades since, know he became bored in “retirement” too, and fortunately, rediscovered his love for radio. He was heard regularly around the New York / East Coast into 2011, when his All Night with Joey Reynolds airing on WNBC-DT2 ended.

You might recall the night in 1962, though, while bopping to WPOP/Hartford, Connecticut, that Joey locked himself in the studio for four hours and played the Four Seasons’ “Sherry” until it HAD to be a hit … Sherry, Sherry baby come, come out tonight ♪.

Or more recently, tried a few yummy recipes from The Ultimate Cheesecake Cookbook which he co-authored with longtime assistant, Myra Chanin.

Either way, it’s worth a small donation to Reel Radio, a great non-profit that archives DJ airchecks, to walk down Memory Lane with Joey Reynolds, from Buffalo to San Francisco.

Featured Radio Survey: Joey Reynolds is a BFYP pioneering DJ, with ties to both coasts and a commanding host of studio microphones in between. Recall the tunes Joey played for you at WXYZ/Hartford, June 6, 1966! Enjoy the Moment … Again.

Celebrate this month 50 years ago and … Rock On!

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  MAY 1966 
Mamas (& Papas) and Mondays in May! 

The Mamas & the Papas made radio news commiserating with the lovelorn, as their melancholy “Monday,
Monday” hit the top of the charts, throughout May 1966. 

As early as the May 8th issue of “The Original Official Top Thirty,” WGH/Tidewater, Virginia, latched on to the song that is distinguished as the group’s only #1 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. 

Were you listening when Bob “Ol’ Boob” Calvert or Roger “The Lodger” Clark set “Monday, Monday” to spinning on the turntable?

Or were you in Chicago when WCFL listeners jammed the (Jim) Stagg Line requesting The Mamas and the Papas’ popular song, keeping it at #1 as late as the May 26th Sound 10 Survey?*

In late May, though no longer charting at KFWB/98, L.A., The Mamas and the Papas were front page news in the station’s Hitline newsrag. (Vol. 1, No. 52, May 31, 1966) Were Wink Martindale, Lord Tim and Gene Weed your fave KFWB heartthrob DJs? Speaking of love

Troublesome relationships and the darker effects of sex, drugs, Rock & Roll, plagued The Mamas and the Papas throughout their short-lived chart-climbing years.

Though three of the four original members now make music in Rock & Roll Heaven, The Mamas and the Papas left a legacy of classic songs that radio stations still rotate on their playlists.

In addition to “Monday, Monday, ” a sampling that we still sing along with:

California Dreamin’”    I'd be safe and warm … If I was in L.A. …

Featured Radio Survey: Jim Stagg is a celebrated WCFL/Chicago pioneering DJ – and rightfully so! SO he’s included in the Blast from Your Past DJ series, Book 2 coming soon. Look for a teaser excerpt in the near future. In the meantime, the *May 26, 1966 Sound 10 Survey is featured! Enjoy the Moment … Again.

Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day … it just turns out that way

Celebrate this month 50 years ago and … Rock On!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk 

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♪ ♪ ♪  APRIL 1966  ♪ ♪ ♪

Still looking for answers …

But I say, the 1960s were not an answer, they were the question... and it still holds particularly about the way we are treating the planet ~ Donovan.

And so, we celebrate Earth Day April 22nd – which just happens to be a “Full Pink Moon” as well. Cool.

You know what else is cool? 50 Years Ago this MonthBFYP Rockin’ DJ, Ken Chase (aka Mike Korgan) produced the ultimate party song, “LouieLouie.” April 11th marks International “Louie Louie” Day, and It hit #8 on the WILS/Lansing (MI) Top Twenty survey, April 27, 1966!

You can likely still find a copy or two of “Louie Louie” and other top tens of the day, at your neighborhood vinyl record store. Hopefully, not too many scratches on the grooves for “Good Lovin’” (Young Rascals) and the Mamas & Papas’ “Monday, Monday.”

Maybe you’ll even catch ‘em on sale – ‘cause April 16th is Record Store Day. Remember how we used to swing to the beat on the Radio, then hightail it down to our fave record store on our Schwinns? Thank your local pioneering Rock Radio DJs for their service …

Is that all there is? Heck no! Then … Let’s keep dancin’ April 23rd is National Dance Day! So put your boogie on and let’s groove to the beat, baby.

Featured Radio Survey: Of course, I have an original WILS April 27, 1966, record chart! DJs Bob Carey and Gene Healy ruled the airwaves and spun the platters in Lansing. Enjoy the Moment … Again.

Let's take this on outta here … Let's go!

Celebrate this month 50 years ago and … Rock On!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

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♪ ♪ ♪  MARCH 1966  ♪ ♪ ♪ 

Teen Power 50 Years Ago this Month = Boomer Power Now!

If today’s power-mad teens think they are the driving force of retail sales, let them be reminded – we started it!

Week of March 12, 1966: “Teen Power – America’s 24 million teenagers spent $15 billion on leisure time activities last year, a boost of $3 billion over the past two years. According to Billboard magazine, youngsters bought around 68% of all single records and 34% of all albums sold across retail counters.

What did we buy? Miniskirts, Espresso, Ben Franklin glasses, music by the Righteous Brothers, and more Rockin’ vinyls by the Rolling Stones.


As with today’s teens, our music and the artists we loved often reflected our restless and rebellious attitude, with reactions to it as diverse as the swirling colors in a tie-dye shirt.

Example: the UK public took John Lennon’s off-hand statement made in the London Evening Standard in March 1966, with Lot’s grain of salt. But in the US, it rubbed salt in Christian wounds ...

It took five months (August) before the article republished in the US teen newsmag, Datebook – and all hell broke loose – heralding “politically correct” fanaticism and society’s inability to tolerate a metaphor.

Yes, he indeed said, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first—rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

What did your fave radio station DJ have to say about it? Did you understand that 1) things were different in the UK – Christianity was experiencing a slump; and 2) Lennon meant the comparison as a point of reference, and since he was currently studying religion, it was to him, a natural comparison?

Probably not – we Americans tend to blindly grab whatever media-frenzied headline is waving over our heads today and beat it to death until it succumbs to our way of thinking – as skewered as that might be.

The controversy contributed to The Beatles’ decision that their August US tour would be their last – on its conclusion, they became a studio band – but wrote some of their best work.

Still happy in our ignorance in March, we protested the Vietnam War and boot-stomped Barry Sadlers’ “Ballad of the Green Berets” to the top of the charts. WABC/NY moved over to their new Avenue of the Americas radio studio, and a NYC top jock, Murray the K, opened a Rock ‘n’ Roll theater night spot.  

Featured Radio Survey: “Ballad of the Green Berets” hit the charts hard in March 1966. Heartland listeners at WHB/Kansas City (MO) already pushed it up to #1, while it took ‘til the week of March 20th for WGH/Tidewater (VA) to take it to the #3 spot on the chart. Who were your fave DJs? Did you listen to WGH’s high-steppin’ jocks, like “Ol’ Boob” Bob Calvert and “Lean Gene” Loving? There’s more

Celebrate this month 50 years ago and … Enjoy the moment … again!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

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♪ ♪ ♪  FEBRUARY 1966  ♪ ♪ ♪ 

50 Years Ago this Month – Batman Rocks Radio!

1966 was a heightened year of conflict and free speech. Those of us graduating high school in the late ‘60s teetered on the cusp of one extreme or the other. For many, our choices programmed the rest of our lives – into mainstream college and families, or experimenting with life and visionary innovations.

Fifty Years Ago this Month, music played a crucial sanctuary for our insecurities, much like today. No self-respecting car cruising the drag was without a radio; and like televisions today, a radio commanded space in every room of the house.

Did your after-school job take a month to earn up to $40 for that Silvertone 4-speed automatic phonograph? Thumbing through the Sears (& Roebuck) catalog though, you could score an AM clock radio for half that. We were cool. California Dreamin’ … on such a winter’s day …
With our radios came those smooth-talkin’, happy-hawkin’ DJs who echoed our fears and soothed our tears … if only Batman could save the world!

At WILS/Lansing Michigan, it was Batman to the rescue! Trading on the hottest show on television, the station’s “Top Sounds of the Week” for February 1966, featured “The exciting adventures of Bat-Fink and Rubin, the wonder-midget.” No, we were not particularly politically correct “in the day”

But no one can deny that we had a lot of innocent fun. It was an era we can only wish our children of today were still experiencing. Not that there wasn’t crime and violence, but it wasn’t the norm, and not our idea of “fun.”
Fun was joining Ron Riley’s Batman Club at WLS/Chicago; and tripping up our ankle-biting siblings as they raced around us with Remco’s Batman Wrist Radios!

Ahhhh, that was then – this is now – we Boomers only confess to 39 and Holding, so we can reminisce and remember … … now I cherish so, When Liking Turns to Loving

Featured Radio Survey: WILS/Lansing, Radio 1320 “Music in Michigan,” February 23, 1966 (issue #113) featured DJ Bob Carey’s future hit pick, “Good Lovin’” (Young Rascals). See all the DJs’ picks – is your fave among them?

Celebrate this month 50 years ago and … Enjoy the moment … again!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

“California Dreaming,” Mamas & Papas – #14
“When Liking Turns to Love,” Ronnie Dove – #11

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♪ ♪ ♪  JANUARY 1966  ♪ ♪ ♪ 

“Trippy, man” … and that’s how we began January, 1966 ~ 50 Years Ago this Month!

Life is trippy even without LSD – better known as “Acid” – the hallucinatory craze of the late ‘60s. Well, I didn’t need any of the “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” to ride the whirlwind of life which threw me into a new location on New Year’s Day.

And before I could even get my bearings, the dreaded cold bug invaded my senses – ‘twas the season, ya know? All better now though, and ready to tackle an exciting New Year of pioneering Rock & Roll Radio DJs. How about you? Let’s get at it then – January, 1966 began …

With New York City at a standstill, public transportation workers went on strike January 2nd and remained off the grid until the 13th. Meanwhile, recent high school grads were called up for a different kind of duty …

The Face of Battle (AP/Horst Faas) by
Andrew H. Talkov
8,000 US soldiers landed in South Vietnam on January 18th, bringing the total number to almost 200,000. It would be a brutal year for our fresh-faced high school buddies. RIP

How did we deal with it? We listened to KYA/San Francisco’s now-legendary DJs, Emperor Gene Nelson, Johnny Holliday and the others, spinning “safe” sounds of James Brown, the Righteous Brothers, and Simon & Garfunkel. But that was all about to shape-shift into wild, vibrant, swirling colors.

A good many chose to escape into the land of the Caterpillar and the Toadstool as one of the first large public “Acid Tests” took place over three hazy days, January 21-23, at San Francisco’s Longshoreman’s Hall.

Ten thousand Hippies and Hipsters gathered for the three-day Trips Festival (with a thousand would-be trippers turned away each night). A weekend of tuning out with LSD and tuning into mind melds featured the psychedelic music of such soon-to-be greats (not even on radio charts yet), Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, and The Loading Zone.

As a provocative vintage poster reads, “The audience is invited to wear Ecstatic Dress. Bring your own toys.” Nuf said!

Featured Radio Survey(s): KYA/San Francisco’s January 1, 1966 chart appeared in its weekly BEAT newsrag. This month marked the winners of their first International Pop Music Awards. Topping the chart and the awards were the Fab Four who would discover their mind trips later in the year. For now, Day Tripper – a relative misnomer – shared top billing with their “We Can Work It Out.” (And in and around, and through … still trippin’!)

Celebrate this month 50 years ago and … Enjoy the moment … again!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

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50 Years Ago this Month - DECEMBER 1965

Stretching the Soul

Like 2015, 1965 was a year of change, unrest, and innovation. As the people spoke out on racism, religion, and war, our music reflected the times.

Leading a poignant revolution, The Beatles released Rubber Soul (December 3rd), their landmark album that marked a change in their tunes, from purely moneymaking pop to introspective creativity. Peace and harmony? Not so much …

Though George worked the soothing strains of a sitar into “Norwegian Wood,” all was not peaceful in their homeland as UK radio rebelled over government restrictions.

A December 26th Paul McCartney interview gave credence to rogue Radio Caroline, a “pirate radio station” which defied UK laws, anchored in international waters off the North Sea coast of Suffolk, England.

Rubber Soul’s release however, also heralded The Beatles’ swan song, as their last live UK tour ended on December 12th. A final US tour in August 1966 was plagued with controversy over Lennon’s “Jesus” remark, and it took another four years for the Fab Four to irrevocably splinter.

I sat on a rug | biding my time | drinking her wine … 

Featured Radio Survey(s): Well darn, in all my BFYP collectible surveys, I don’t have a December 1965 chart. So, enjoy a few festive vintage images of era collectibles that might spark a Holiday gift idea for your fave Boomer.

Celebrate this month 50 years ago and … Enjoy the moment … again!

Share on Twitter: @BlastFromPastBk

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If you missed the 1964 / 1965 monthly trivia posts, feel free to ask for a PDF of them! (They may or may not still be available on the site.)