Thanks for including us in your blog post today!
WDRV 97.1 FM The Drive
Glad to ... LOVE the station (and have been a listener since Day One!) Of course I ended up getting called into work on Saturday and missed the broadcast of The Drive's "History Of Rock And Roll" for the SECOND time now!!! But the bits and pieces that I was able to hear were great. (Maybe some of the guys would like to talk about how they put it all together??? Lemme know!) Thanks, Shannon! (kk)
I don't remember the year, but it must have been around 1969 or 1970 when KDWB out of Fargo, North Dakota, ran the original special for two hours a day, Monday through Fridays, starting in June.
I had just gotten out of school for the summer ... I must have been around 12 and I was glued to the radio for those two hours each day. This was the Humble Harv narrated version. I've always thought they should sell the darn thing so we rock history freaks could just buy it. I heard the next version as well in the late 70's, but for some reason the first one grabbed me more. I suspect it was because it had never been done before.I also remember when WLS used to do "retrorock" on week nights at 9:25 PM. I had my radio on when I was in bed and just waited to see what they'd talk about.
As explained in Gary Theroux's text the other day, the show will NEVER be available for sale ... TOO many licensing issues (and the material was only licensed for limited broadcasting.) Look at what all The Wrecking Crew folks are going through right now trying to get their film out there (much less the required soundtrack album!!!) And I'm sure that there ARE bootleg copies of "The History Of Rock And Roll" floating around (although I've honestly never seen one.) I, too, would LOVE to have the COMPLETE broadcast for my personal collection ... and will sign ANYTHING they want me to sign, promising not to broadcast, sell, copy or distribute it ... I just wanna enjoy it all to myself!!!
Wouldn't it be great if all this renewed interest and publicity inspired SOMEBODY to take the bull by the horns and get this thing back on the air again? Even air it as something like "Rock And Roll: The First Thirty Years" and then, throughout the broadcast, promote something along the lines of "Like what you're hearing? Then contact your radio station and tell them that you want the next 50 chapters!!!" If the response is particularly good, perhaps we can even find a home for Gary Theroux's daily series of 2 1/2 minute snippets profiling many of the songs and artists featured in the full-blown broadcast.
Seriously 'though, I'd LOVE to see the whole thing expanded into a 65 year history ... spread out over 150 hours that could air in three hour blocks every weekend for an entire year. I'm telling you ... THIS is appointment radio. Run it on Saturday Night and then repeat it again at Noon on Sunday for the benefit of anyone who may have missed the previous night's airing. It's a GUARANTEED winner. C'mon ... ANYBODY?!?!? (kk)
Hi Kent ...
A very interesting read ... I really enjoyed it.
However I would like to correct Gary Theroux on one item:
The original KHJ HRR was narrated by Robert W. Morgan. "Humble Harve" Miller then did the first syndicated HRR. There are copies of the original out there somewhere. I just remembered that I gave a taped copy of the original from KFRC to Ed Ames of the Ames Brothers. He and I were friends back then. How many of your readers remember him from the group, as a solo and as a star on the old TV western, Daniel Boone I think. He achieved a great moment back then when, as a guest on the Johnny Carson Show, Carson had Ed stand in front of wooden outline of a person and Carson threw a tomahawk at Ed. Hit him right in the crotch. Whoa ... They call the audience reaction as the longest sustained laughter in TV history.
Well, that's not EXACTLY what happened ... but you're close!
Click here: YouTube - Johnny Carson with - Ed Ames - 1965
I think another of the longest sustained laughs in television history has to be that Dick Van Dyke episode where Rob Petrie thinks they brought the wrong baby home from the hospital ... so he contacts the couple (Mr. and Mrs. Peters) who had a baby boy the same day as Laura ... invites them over to discuss what he's SURE must be a hospital mistake ... and then opens the front door to greet a BLACK couple on his door step. CLASSIC stuff! (kk)
>>>You might want to query John Rook, the then PD at WLS, about what he went thru to nab the broadcast. A fascinating story if he cares to share it.
OK, so now I've got to know ... what exactly DID John Rook do to get The History Of Rock And Roll for his radio station?
I asked him that question to see if he might like to elaborate for our readers ... but he declined, stating simply:
It's one of the great stories that I've never made public except for a few close radio pals. Let me think about it ... and I'll let you know.
Gee -- I never thought of "The History of Rock 'n' Roll" as being at all controversial!
But I must say that I found the “History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” letter from Ted Atkins truly fascinating, as it included a number of facts about the show which even I did not know – taken from Ted’s perspective of one of the era’s most important and influential radio programmers.
Here are three little notes to Ted on his letter:
1. The “still later” version of the HRR which he refers to must be the one I wrote and co-produced in 1978. It ran 52 hours, not 50, as you can see from the two pages of program content placed right under Ted’s letter.
2. Bill Mouzis, who engineered the 1969 HRR, was one of the contributing editors of the 1978 edition. Bill is quite elderly now, but as feisty as ever!
3. The HRR poster by Tom Jung (attached to this e-mail) was commissioned by Bill Drake for the 1978 version of the show. Everyone involved had different ideas about which stars should be prominently featured and how big and so what you see is sort of a compromise. I did not want Peter Frampton included because, although "Frampton Comes Alive" had been a big LP seller a year or so earlier, I was not convinced that he truly had staying power. (And he didn't.) However, there he is, sandwiched in between the Beach Boys and Linda Ronstadt.
One hundred framed prints were made and distributed, mostly to key radio programmers like Ted Atkins. My own copy, on the wall here in my office, is #16. I will never forget the unveiling of the poster at Universal City. I was at one end of a long conference table with Drake while all the other seats were occupied by somber-suited yes men from the ad agency. When the head of the agency pulled the drape off Jung’s artwork, all eyes flashed from it to Drake for his reaction. Poker faced and dressed in his customary University of Hawaii sweatshirt -- in complete contrast, of course, to all the penguins around the table -- Drake slowly said, “That – is – awful –“ and for a split second every one of those ad agency guys turned chalk white. Then, the slow talkin’ Drake finished his sentence (after his dramatic pause) with the word “good.” All the color rushed back to those faces and the smiles broke out. I later asked Bill why he teased them like that and, with his usual grin, explained, “I just wanted to make ‘em squirm.”
Regarding your comments, Kent, later down the page, I consider the dawn of the rock era to be the late ‘40s, when records like Wynonie Harris’ “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and Arthur Crudup’s “That’s All Right, Mama” came out. You can trace elements of rock’s hybrid status back farther, but it was in the late ‘40s when a significant number of records that truly rocked were issued. So, with that in mind, to run from the late ‘40s to today you’re talking a good 65 years.
Would I love to put such a special together?
You’d better believe it – and I have most of the material I’d need right at hand in my archives. But, as I noted before, no commercial station plays music over that vast a spread of time (although it would sure be interesting if they did).
As no commercial station in the U.S. plays 65 years of hit music, what I have done instead is create a broad series of 2 ½ minute “History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” daily features, each of which spotlights three successive hits by an artist along with fun facts about those gems and artist interviews. Some episodes have turned up, from, time to time, on the Forgotten Hits website. I'm still hoping that Scott Shannon will pick up the series for his True Oldies Channel.
Regarding the availability of “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” KYNO in Fresno, CA (a station formerly owned by Gene Chenault) recently re-aired the show, as did WCBS-FM in New York. After Drake - Chenault Enterprises closed it’s doors, it’s assets – including “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” – changed hands several times, eventually landing at Jones Radio. In 2009, Jones Radio Networks ceased operations and all of their radio programs and satellite formats were acquired by the Triton Media Group’s Dial Global. If you want to license the longform HRR, I’d suggest you contact them.
All the best,
I would agree that the TRUE roots of rock and roll can be traced back even further than 1948 ... but that's certainly a reasonable starting point, particularly if you're looking for music that the mass audience will recognize and can identify with. (Our good friend Ed Parker ... aka JacoFan ... has traced rock back to the late 1800's and has documented trends in music that have evolved over time into that which is familiar to us today ... in fact, his letter follows yours ... and I believe he sent you his long-form essay tracing rock back to its most basic, infantile beginnings. Read on! (kk)
I'm going to rant, but it's not against you or anyone else in particular. I've got a few different ways of saying what I've been saying for years now, but the challenge for me will be to keep it simple. And, like I've said, you may have readers that are new to your mailing list that have never read my views (not that my opinions are more valuable than anyone else's, but, I'm proud to say, my views are in the minority.)
I read some of the comments on your Forgotten Hits page pertaining to rock's history and, not surprisingly, while the shows seem like they were interesting and a lot of work went into their creation, they still place rock's beginnings in the 1950's. At least that's my impression. Granted, the "rock era" is said to have begun in the 1950's. The music that came prior should be documented and included in any history of rock simply because it greatly shaped rock as we know it, be it Chuck Berry, Led Zeppelin, or The White Stripes.
Now here's where I'll try to keep it simple:
It's a fact that American pop music can be traced back to various styles, namely, and arguably most importantly, African field hollers, with rock 'n' roll obviously a main ingredient of that pop music. It's also a fact that pop music / rock 'n' roll [which, to a certain extent, are the same thing] is a continuum; an evolution that continues to this day. The opinions, on the other hand, come into play on two levels: when it started and what actually qualifies as rock 'n' roll. The reason for this is simple: rock 'n' roll is an extremely broad term embracing many styles. Everyone's opinion differs as to what the first rock 'n' roll record was, not to mention the controversy surrounding the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame (who should be in and who shouldn't be.) My feeling is if doo-wop can be considered rock 'n' roll (which it is), then surely raw Delta blues qualifies as rock 'n' roll too. As Robert Plant once said, "They [the '20's and '30's blues guitarists] had the licks when you can barely get it down on recording equipment."
I take the very fact that rock 'n' roll is an extremely broad term to go in the opposite direction - just as rock has evolved since the '50's to the present, so has it evolved from the field hollers to the 1950's.
As wide a view as my perception of what rock 'n' roll is, however, I do not consider everything to be rock 'n' roll. For example, while Bing Crosby is part of the continuum I speak of simply by being a pop singer, he does not fall into the rock evolution, i.e. field hollers, blues, spirituals, etc.; the direct lineage, despite being an influence on certain rock vocalists (Roy Brown, Elvis, John Lennon.)
Speaking of Bing Crosby, it's been said many times that, before the "rock era," there were pop singers such as Patti Page and Perry Como, Bennett, Sinatra, etc. "Sweet music," if you will. True, but this view completely ignores the early black vocal quartets, spirituals, and various blues forms and implies that rock 'n' roll appeared out of nowhere when, in fact, it's been evolving for several decades / centuries even by 1950's standards.
To put it another way, the general rule seems to be that if people first heard black music and / or white interpretations of black music in the 1950's, then black music must not have existed in the 1940's and earlier; black music - rock 'n' roll - was new to them so therefore it must be new altogether. Most people who first heard rock 'n' roll in the 1950's took this narrow viewpoint of rock's history with them into adulthood, which is why "real" documentaries about rock 'n' roll's rich history prior to the 1950's needs to be told. People need to know what went down in the 1890's, early 1900's, 1910's, '20's, '30's, and '40's.
I'll be glad to contribute what I can to any documentary that may be made in the future.
As we've talked about MANY times in the past, the generally accepted birth of rock and roll has been tied to the song "Rock Around The Clock" reaching #1 back in 1955. This began the "acceptability" of rock and roll as a music or art form. Without question, it's roots date back considerably earlier than that, as evidenced by the "race music" that was so prevalent on the R&B Charts in the late '40's and early '50's. While disc jockeys like Alan Freed certainly did their part by bringing this music into the homes of the teenagers, white "cover" artists like Pat Boone, The Crew Cuts and so many others influenced Middle White America to at least LISTEN to these new sounds. My God, even wholesome little Ricky Nelson was singing this music on our televisions every single week! And that's when the whole thing exploded ... soon, the listening audience wanted "the real deal", which helped to pave the way for artists like Fats Domino and Little Richard and several others to cross over and achieve mass appeal and success. Today, these artists (along with people like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley) are considered to be the "forefathers" of rock and roll. (We've written several times before about how MUSIC ... more than ANY other political movement or protest marches ... helped unite and bring harmony to the races ... there is no greater evidence of that than the earliest stages of rock and roll!)
Without question, a COMPLETE History Of Rock And Roll should encompass ALL of this as well as trace its roots even further ... but the truth of the matter is (especially since this will ultimately be the first chapter), you'll LOSE your audience if you feed them too much unfamiliar material. Fascinating as it may be, I think you need to work it into other segments ... talk about the Gospel "call and response" ... and then run that right into the early success of Ray Charles' music ... something along those lines that show where it came from ... and how it developed into what we all grew to know, love and accept. My guess is that if this "education" is presented properly, it will inspire more folks to go back and seek out some of these early examples on their own. That's how I discovered the music of the '50's ... I was too young the first time around ... but when The British Invasion Artists started feeding it back to us, I sought out the originals to see what inspired them in the first place.
Bottom line ... one HELL of a true History Of Rock And Roll could be assembled ... and, as I keep saying, by expanding it to 150 hours, it leaves room for much deeper exploration of these early influences. Sadly, even The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, which once prided itself on honoring some of these early influences, has let that category all but disappear ... because there just isn't any "commercial value" in showing this on their annual television special ... and it won't help sell tickets to their "$10,000 per table" ceremony. Sad ... but true. (And seriously, shouldn't a magazine of Rolling Stone's caliber be more committed to getting this story out there? Then again, I guess that's what WE'RE here for!!!) kk
>>>What The Drive [WDRV] put together on their own certainly serves the purpose of satisfying their listening audience. (kk)
Yeah, if you only like Classic Rock, the White Man's music.
What radio needs is someone who is unbiased, no white man's supremacy thing on The History Or Rock And Roll, who also likes the instrumentals and [as Joel Whitburn would call it] Adult Contemporary music.
Sorry, Kent, radio still remains boring to me! As far as XM and Sirus, now that they're one, it's time for a few, ahem, commercials to keep them floating! Should hire some decent DJs!
As the PREMIER Classic Rock Station in town, what other perspective would you EXPECT them to cover? Could they have gone deeper? Absolutely ... but not within the confines of a one-day special trying to encompass a 60 year era of music. But The Drive DOES do Classic Rock right ... regular daily specials like "Triple Play Thursdays" or "Album Sides Weekends" or my personal favorite, "The Drive - A to Z", which typically runs for eight or nine days straight as they run through their extensive on-air catalog, STILL finding ways to slip in NEW material each time ... this station CARES about the music. They cater to their audience. (If you think about it, even Bob Stroud's "Rock And Roll Roots" radio program ... a Chicago Radio Institution for over 25 years now ... rarely delves back further than about 1963 ... hardly "roots" at all in reality ... yet one of the most successful programs in Chicago radio history!) I'd love to see The Drive expand this program over time ... add to it ... instead of album "Deep Tracks" how about "deeper chapters" ... now that you know you've got a "hit" program on your hands, continue to develop and expand it and then air new "expanded" chapter every weekend. A lot of potential here that will still allow you to remain true to your genre. (kk)
And now, from "The Evolution Of Rock" Canadian Camp, we received several responses:
I just read Gary Theroux's comments regarding both The History Of Rock And Roll that he was involved with as well as The Evolution Of Rock that I was involved with ... and I just wanted to say a few things ...
Gary ... you're right.
And you're wrong.
You're right that in 1969 CHUM DID hastily put together something they called The History of Rock due to Drake's History of Rock & Roll being aired on competiter CKFH. It was never aired anywhere else but CHUM. I've never heard it ... so it would be unfair of me to comment on it's "quality".
But you're wrong that it was The Evolution of Rock. THAT was a completely different program. It was produced by CHUM in 1976 and 1977 and won Billboard's International Documentary of The Year Award. It was 64 hours long.
(Further updates were produced from 1978 thru 1980, I believe, but aside from convincing Bill McDonald to write them even though he was busy working for Chuck Blore in Hollywood by then ... and directing Chuck Riley on the Narration ... I had nothing to do with them).
The Evolution of Rock was syndicated by TM throughout the world and later sold to Wagontrain Productions, who placed it on KODJ / L.A. to launch their Oldies Format in 1989. I know because Chuck Riley called asking if I could have it "yanked". At the time he was The Voice of The CBS-TV Network and Emmis Radio both of which, of course, could be heard in L.A.
There is a certain "irony" that in at least one market ... Philadelphia ... both programs were on the air simultaneously.
I recorded Chuck Riley's narration at WIBC Indianapolis, the flagship station of Fairbanks Broadcasting, because Chuck was Afternoon Drive. Our deal with Fairbanks was that they could have the program gratis for all their stations. One of those stations was WIBG in Philly and, of course, they decided to put it on the air. Much to their surprise ... as National PD George Johns explained it to me ... WFIL got Drake's History of Rock & Roll "out of mothballs" ... and put it on the air.
George tells me the EOR won. If so, it could hardly be fair as 'FIL would have been airing a seven or eight year old program.
I hope this helps to "clear the air" on this issue, Gary. I have no opinion on The History of Rock & Roll because I've never heard it.
BTW ... other documentaries produced by CHUM which received international syndication are The Story of The Beatles (1970 - 12 hours), The Elvis Presley Story (1975 - 12 hours) and also an 8 hour Top 100 of The Year from 1970 thru 1977 which aired each year in Canada thru The Canadian Association of Broadcasters.
Production Manager of The Evolution Of Rock
P.S. Gary ... there is no question that The History of Rock and Roll was a HUGE accomplishment. It paved the way for all of us who would later create audio and video documentaries on Rock and Roll and it's many personalities / musicians.
But as for The Evolution of Rock, Gary ... you have the right to your own opinion ... but not your own facts.
On our behalf, Warren also asked J. Robert Wood, the Program Director and later General Manager of CHUM, if he recalled what prompted us to produce the original CHUM History of Rock n Roll. Here is his reply:
Tom Rounds, the President of Watermark, sold us the Drake version; we were to have exclusive rights for its airing in Toronto. Then Rounds broke his word and sold it to CKFH. So we decided to pre-empt CKFH by producing our own version even though we had no script, no interviews, and no research. It was, in my opinion, a terrific program, especially given that we had to start broadcasting it virtually right away in order to launch ahead of ‘FH.
A first draft of the script was developed by Walt Grealis, but it was Larry Solway who wrote the one we used. We had Larry in one office writing it, Doug Thompson in a nearby studio producing it, and Chuck McCoy on the air broadcasting that night’s “latest chapter.”
Yes, it may have been sketchy and a bit sparse in spots, but Larry’s script gave it a sociological perspective that the Drake version lacked. And Doug Thompson’s soaring, meticulous, and beautifully-paced production was easily just as good as the Drake version, despite the impossible deadlines (one three hour chapter each night and only a fraction of the interviews we would later assemble for the Evolution of Rock).
But if our version was sparse in places, so was the Drake version. For example, I seem to recall that the Drake version featured a six or eight hour stretch of nothing but a straight countdown of the top hits of rock n roll strategically scheduled to air during the all night show on their stations. So their version was also sketchy in spots.Regarding Mr. Theroux’s comments about the CHUM Evolution of Rock, it is telling I think that the program was purchased by the leading station in virtually every one of the Top 100 U.S. markets including most of the Drake stations even though it originated in Canada. We actually had competing broadcasters in various markets threatening to sue us if we did not sell the program to them.
The program was also broadcast on stations in major markets in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other English speaking markets around the world. A few years later, when we sold the rights to the program to TM Productions, Jim Long, Jerry Atchley and the rest of the TM team sold it to hundreds of additional smaller market stations in the U.S. and around the world. Ultimately, because of their efforts, the CHUM Evolution of Rock would have aired on far more stations and been heard by far more people than the Drake version. In fact, it was probably the most successful long form music documentary program in the history of broadcasting. Finally, I would be very surprised if the Drake organization had a team of people who could match the body of work and awards achieved by you, Doug Thompson, Bill McDonald and Chuck Riley. They just don’t come any better.
J. Robert Wood
Another note we have to share with you today came from Doug Thompson to Warren Cosford regarding the landmark CHUM Series (with a few "editor's comments" from Warren himself wherever he felt it necessary.) Doug has been a FH Reader for a few years now and although he and I may have gotten off on the wrong foot initially (ya think?!?!?), I have to say that he has become a staunch supporter of our efforts ... and regularly sends me notes to tell me that he's "still reading"!!! (lol) I love it! Doug also sent me the official CHUM Chart Book, a complete history of The Canadian Charts ... signed by many of the principle players at the station from back to the day, a gift for which I will ALWAYS be grateful. (I use it all the time, Doug!!!) Here are some of HIS comments on what's been going on:
In the whole scheme of your career, what does it matter what Gary Theroux thinks?
I mean, really, who cares what he thinks?
You know what you, J. Robert Wood, Bill McDonald, Chuck Riley, Bob McMillan and Zeke Zdebiak did with "The Evolution of Rock". It was magnificent. As you rightly point out, it won the Billboard award for "Best International Syndicated Program of the Year". But it was different from Drake's 60's version of the "History of Rock'N'Roll" that Theroux is talking about (other than the subject matter and the music). It's like comparing McIntosh apples and Red Spy apples. They're the same but they're different.
But so what? I don't even care that you called a program I produced, "I've never heard it, but I understand that it was likely about as poorly written and produced in comparison to your program as you remember it." (Speaking of CHUM's original "History of Rock" in 1969) It was.
Ed Note: Actually Doug.....that paragraph was sent to you, JRW and Bob McMillan in my First Draft, but not to The List or to Forgotten Hits.
No one in Canada, certainly not at CHUM, had ever attempted anything like that. It WAS written and produced to counter program CKFH who'd purchased Drake's original "History of Rock'N'Roll" in 1969. And it did its job well. Larry Solway, who was not a fan of much rock and roll music, wrote it. Chuck Riley flew into Toronto to narrate it (thanks to Bob Wood) and I produced it. Think about it - writing and producing 28 hours of radio programming ... in less than two weeks. The script was dry (and that's being kind), the production was extremely basic. We rolled records a lot of the time (that's what Larry had in the script). We had no interviews in it other than a couple of Elvis clips I added to one of his songs that I took from the "Elvis Sails" RCA interview EP.
It aired 4 hours a night for 7 nights in a row. Requests for copies and to replay it from listeners were so great that CHUM did indeed repeat all 28 hours at the end of the year.
Now compare that to the one week you, Bill, JRW and I had to write and produce "The Beatles Story". It was only 12 hours and it practically killed some of us (well, me actually). You produced the middle four hours and handled all the day-to-day CHUM commercial production for that week while I produced the first four hours and the last four. As you know, I was there six days straight. I worked 'round the clock (as did JRW and you), went home at 7 in the morning, had a quick shower and came right back to CHUM. I ended up in the hospital for several days when it was over. But we were young and crazy as well as devotedly dedicated to CHUM and our leader, JRW. After all ... we were at WAR. And we won that war. CKFH eventually went away, only to be replaced by another, stronger competitor - CFTR and it was during that new war that you, Bill, JRW, Bob, Chuck and Zeke created "The Evolution of Rock".
In 1983, ABC Radio in Hollywood hired me to write "Ringo's Yellow Submarine". It was a 24 hour radio series featuring The Beatles' Ringo Starr as host. "Ringo's Yellow Submarine" ran three hours a week throughout the summer on hundreds of radio stations all over the world. In the late summer, near the middle of the series, Goldmine Magazine wrote a review of the show and they weren't particularly kind. It upset me, but I knew I'd done the very best show I could, and that ABC were very happy with the show. In fact, they ran all 24 hours again the following summer.
Ed Note: Doug is much to modest to mention this but ... in the final hour of the show, Ringo was asked to take phone calls from fans. He said he'd do it providing Dougie Thompson was in the studio with him. "Dougie knows more about me than I do".
Opinions like Gary Theroux's are a dime a dozen. He wrote for Drake's History of Rock and Roll. Of course, he's going to prefer that. I HAVE listened to every hour of both specials and honestly, I do prefer "The Evolution of Rock" simply because it's much more production based. There's more excitement to it. I also very much like the original 48 hour "History Of Rock and Roll" rockumentary that Ron Jacobs produced at KHJ in 1969 with Robert W. Morgan narrating. God, that was fun to listen to. I actually prefer THAT version to the syndicated Drake version that Theroux would have been involved with.
Look, you're never going to change Gary Theroux's mind, just as he's never change yours. So, in the immortal words of Strother Martin's character from "Cool Hand Luke", "What we got here ... is failure to communicate."
Doug in Aurora
And one more ...
Well, I just have to comment, after all the work Dave Doering and I did digitizing the Evolution Of Rock, on the History vs. The EOR. My observations are, I think, objective and accurate. I don’t know how long it took the CHUM folks to make the show; but, it took Dave and I a full year to digitize it. Not only did we copy each record and / or tape (depending on what we had available), precisely as the original, we also processed a full copy using Adobe Audition minute by minute, line by line for, in our opinion, much improvement over the original. We started this as a personal lark. I had the records from when WXIL ran the show in 1978. We ran it twice. The first time was over a weekend all the way through without interruption. There were stay-awake–a-thons during the show. Nobody wanted to miss any of it. The second time, WXIL ran the show on weekdays, in the evenings, playing three hour long segments a night or one year a night. Then I put the show away and forgot about it until about seven years ago when Dave Doering (a close friend and former WXIL shareholder) called me to ask if I still had the show. I did. He wanted to know if he could digitize it. After some conversation, we both decided to work on it in a cooperative manner. Not long into the project, we began to think – independently – that the show could still be viable commercially; especially if updated. During that process, Dave and I found Warren Cosford along with Bill McDonald who wrote the show. We became good friends. I also contacted Chuck ‘Riley’ Hanks and we talked for hours on the phone. When finished, we were led to believe that we could purchase the rights for the show from CHUM. Then calamity hit. Chuck Hanks died, CHUM sold out and we got left holding the bag with a huge amount of legal fees for the research and negotiation work we had been doing up until all the changes out of our control and no deal. Anyway, we finished the digitizing process through and including 1980. 1978 – 1980 was all done originally in STEREO with the preceding segments all recorded in MONO. Our 1980 segments are also in MONO because we couldn’t find a STEREO source version anywhere. Now, I told you all this for background on the comments that follow pertaining to “The History of Rock” vs. “The Evolution of Rock”. While I did not check with Dave Doering on the following, we have discussed this so many times that I really think I speak for Dave as well as myself.
First, and as an aside, during our digitizing work, I found a number of original TM 15” Master Tapes on eBay. I think there are 17 in all in that collection. I traded a digitized version of the show from LPs for the tapes. We were both very happy. Now, the tapes revealed some very interesting things. All the openings by Chuck “Riley” Hanks said the following: “ … The History of Rock – The Music That Made The World Go Round”. I always wondered about that and still do. The rest of the segments are identical to the LPs … “ … The Evolution of Rock – The Music That Made The World Go Round”. Another was that many “imperfections” found on the LPs were also on that tapes, although, the tapes were slightly better overall. Too bad we didn’t have it all on tape. But both tape and LPs had “surface noise” among the things we removed in our process.
Here is my appraisal of both shows in a brief summation:
The History was better engineered. The audio quality is much better. Their music sources (i.e. records) seem to be much better as well; i.e. cleaner. I also believe the History is in STEREO as in the originals and MONO where the originals were MONO. I can’t attest to the research comments, but I will not argue the point as, to me at least, it is not strictly speaking relevant from a commercial standpoint. That is concerning both the History and the EOR in my view. Now, in my opinion, as for the EOR, the production values far, far exceed that of the History. While the History was produced by genre, the EOR was done chronologically year by year. It grew and grew and grew on you! Chuck Riley hyped the thing, which was just what a “high energy” Top 40 Radio Programmer “like I’m” really appreciates and it fit the WXIL format like a glove. My only regret is that the EOR should have been entirely in Stereo from 1958 onward. Dave and I, had we received the “promised” “Raw” Master Tapes from CHUM, would have given it serious consideration … adding in Stereo music where possible. We love the show and appreciate all that went into it. The writing on the EOR is exceptional, any incorrect research or assumptions notwithstanding. And, if Warren’s accounts are correct, as I assume they are, Warren and Chuck made a great team in creating all the excitement. Each needed the other. While I have met several former and current CHUM folks, my EOR associations in terms of our research and work include Warren, Bill McDonald also a great personal friend and Bob McMillan.
As others in the radio industry on this list have mentioned quite often, it is a real shame that good talent is mostly (there are some exceptions) dormant and / or unemployed in what was once a thriving and exciting industry. Innovation is gone. As an aside, Dave and I have the EOR in WAV format and high quality MP3.I have attached a promotional vehicle used by TM with all TM reference removed at their request. We have permission to use the EOR in terms of TM, TM Century, etc. perpetually for whatever that’s worth …. not much, I’m afraid. I posted a high quality version of this promo on Facebook several years back. Warren or some other list member found it; but, I did not lay claim to it at the time. You should see the art work that Bill McDonald did for us when we thought we had the deal with CHUM. He’s a great guy! This attachment is a “Lo-Fi” small 32 KBPS in mono to make it easily sent by e-mail. But, it gives you an idea. Anyone who would like a high quality copy of this promo, just ask and I will be happy to pass it along. It is 10.5 MB. Make sure you ISP and your e-mail can handle that large a file first.Before the sale of CHUM, they ran the three hours from 1965 digitized by us on CHUM on a Sunday. They gave us credit for the digitization. I copied it from their web site. So, I have a copy complete with our credits.
Dave Strock (from West Virginia)
And then a late comment from co-producer Bob McMillan ...
Just back in (Sunday evening) from a Grandson visit to Saskatoon and have caught up with the History and Evolution thread ... whew! Someone in the US sure has his knickers in a knot!!! Kinda makes you want to get out the razor blade and grease pencil again.
In thinking back to our days ... Bill McDonald, Zeke, you, Larry, Bob Wood etc., I have nothing but pride in our accomplishments with our radio specials and radio in general. There aren't too many people out there who did what we did under the pressure that was on us and to get the results that we did (pardon my grammar).
I recall, on many occasions, playing a segment of a special for you, getting `the look; and re-doing it. It`s not that we threw it together, it`s just that ``it could be slicker``; and we did.
There are many, many segments throughout the EOR that are special because of the teamwork; not just one writer or one producer or one announcer, but all of us. As I recall, my production had to be better than Zeke`s and Zeke`s production had to be better than yours and your production had to be ... well, you get the picture, because you helped paint it, Warren. You, Zeke and I each had a hand in producing portions of the EOR and, to this day, I stand by the fact that not a single person can tell where I started and turned it over to Zeke or where Zeke turned it over to you, etc., etc.; we were that in tune with each other.
By the way, you might want to ask Gary Theroux if he ever had a hand in producing a video version of the show especially for schools.
Kindest regards and with CHUM pride,
(Between 1977 and 1986 Bob McMillan also produced the VIDEO History of Rock, a 35 minute program which was updated each year and presented in every Toronto area High School. Warren Cosford)
How cool is it to have SO many people involved with the original making of these landmark radio series responding in our forum!!! Clearly, everyone is still quite proud and passionate about the work that was done ... and, quite honestly, I think ALL of this would make for some very refreshing programming again. Let's face it, at the time that these programs first aired, nothing like this had ever been done before ... and the fact that these two different series aired right on the heels of one another also meant that no benchmark had previously been set. Without a doubt, I'm sure ALL parties concerned would do certain things a little bit differently today, if time and finances would allow for it ... inspiring me to say once again, IT'S TIME TO UPDATE THE HISTORY OF ROCK AND ROLL TO COVER THE PAST 70 YEARS!!! Is ANYBODY out there in radioland listening?!?!?
Thanks again to EVERYBODY for their continued support and boatloads of inside information ... where else would the average oldies music fan get to hear such stories? Personally, I love it ... and if somehow, someway this forum can help inspire somebody out there to take this to the next level, then I'll feel that we have made a MAJOR contribution to help keep this great music alive. (kk)