Wednesday, August 28, 2013

'60's MUSIC

That was Scott Shannon having a little fun with us on my birthday ... these clips went out from coast to coast and around the world yesterday on his True Oldies Channel.  Thanks, Scott ... I appreciate it!


'60's Music was a melting pot of styles unlike anything else we'd ever seen before or since.  It was, without question, the most exciting and evolving period in pop music history ... and remarkably, ALL of this music coexisted side by side ... and nobody thought a thing about it. 

Early in the decade you had some of the late '50's hold-overs still scoring well on the charts ... artists like Ricky (now Rick) Nelson, The Everly Brothers, Connie Francis and Brenda Lee.  Elvis was out of the Army ... but was recording more mainstream pop music now.  (His biggest hits of 1960/1961 were "It's Now Or Never", "Are You Lonesome Tonight", "Surrender" and "Can't Help Falling In Love".)  He even had a whole new "cleaned-up" look ... and instead of trying to be the next brooding James Dean in the movies, was making lightweight musical fare like "G.I. Blues" and "Blue Hawaii".  Nevertheless, he remained a top box office draw throughout most of the decade. 

The Bandstand / Philly Sound was in high gear thanks to dance hits by Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp as well as hits by Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon and others.  We had The West Coast Sound of The Beach Boys, The East Coast Sound of The Four Seasons ... and even the Midwest was well represented thanks to the brand new sounds coming out of Detroit by way of Motown. 

And then The British Invasion started and music would never be the same. Suddenly ANYTHING British was in fashion and these sounds dominated the charts.  (England swung ... like a pendulum do!)  Surf Music ... the whole Folk Era ... all of this soon gave way to heavier, underground (FM) music and the early baby-steps of Hard Rock.  There were Country Cross-Over Hits for artists like Glen Campbell as well as HUGE hits for R&B / Soul Stars like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and James Brown, who were soon scoring on the pop charts as well.  By 1967/1968, you had sounds as diverse as psychedelia and bubblegum both competing for chart space.  It was an INCREDIBLE decade of music. 

We'll look back at all of these trends over the next 60 days or so as Forgotten Hits Salutes The '60's. 

Time to clear out the cobwebs ... we want to hear from you ... let's talk '60's Music!  Drop us a line at and share your memories with our group.  

Hey, Kent, light up the candles ... 60 is the new 59. Don't worry about a damn thing.
Meanwhile, '68 was my teenage summer of rock and funk.
Every time I flipped on the car radio I was diggin'  The Stones, "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Do it Again" by the Beach Boys and Jimi's stunning cover of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."  
When I think about Hendrix, one given Sunday truly comes to mind. My pal Alan Weintraub and I were in the Civic Opera House to see Jimi with Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, the "Jimi Hendrix Experience."  
The show was overwhelming ... and is as vividly strong today as it was 45 years ago. The Soft Machine opened the bill and Jerry G. Bishop (my buddy Svengoolie at WFLD a few years later) was the emcee.  
Later that night, A-dub and I turned up at a very small party in Old Town for Jimi and his band mates where the atmosphere was permeated by the rich smell of ganja.
"Oh, but are you experienced ... have you ever been experienced ... not just stone but beautiful ... "
Jimi Hendrix.
And parents today think Miley Cyrus is outrageous?
WVON was billing like crazy. Herb Kent was appointment radio as were E. Rodney Jones and Bill "Butterball" Crane. I was groovin' at the Regal Theater and Pervis Spann's Club Boogaloo almost every week. Man, what I would give to go back and relive one month of THE summer of '68.
Chet Coppock
Host: Notre Dame Football-WLS
Host: Chicago Blackhawks Heritage Series 
Contributor: video and print for Chicago Bears  

No doubt about it, '68 was great, too ... here's what I'm talking about when I speak of the diversity of music back then ... all coming out of the same radio station. 

During my birthday week circa 1968 you heard the heavy sounds of "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf, "Hello, I Love You" by The Doors, "Sunshine Of Your Love" by Cream and the incredibly  trippy Vanilla Fudge version of the old Motown hit, "You Keep Me Hangin' On".  Every one of those records were in Billboard's Top Ten ... and creeping up from just outside The Top Ten were "Hush" by Deep Purple, "Journey To The Center Of The Mind" by The Amboy Dukes, "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan, "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" by Status Quo and "Magic Bus" by The Who.  It was as if the seeds for FM Radio were planted that very week. 

Yet playing right along side these songs on your AM dial you could find the blue-eyed soul of The Rascals doing "People Got To Be Free" (#1), the Jose Feliciano folk / jazz remake of "Light My Fire" (#3), country corn courtesy of Jeannie C. Riley, who sat at #7 (jumping up from #81 the week before!) with "Harper Valley P.T.A.", the sultry big-band sound of The Vogues ("Turn Around, Look At Me", #11), bubblegum music by The 1910 Fruit Gum Company and The Ohio Express (with "1,2,3 Red Light" and "Down At Lulu's" respectively), more smooth jazz with Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66, thanks to their version of The Beatles' tune "Fool On The Hill", an old time standard by Mama Cass ("Dream A Little Dream Of Me") as well as the one-of-a-kind sound of "Classic Gas" by Mason Williams who, despite being an INCREDIBLY gifted classical guitarist, was ALSO the heady comedy writer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour!!! 

Heady times indeed ... The Beach Boys were back, returning to their old sound with "Do It Again", Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were telling us all about their favorite girlfriend, "Alice Long", Ray Stevens played it straight with "Mr. Businessman", The Moody Blues won me over with "Tuesday Afternoon" and Gary Puckett and the Union Gap provided a soundtrack that teenagers and their parents could BOTH enjoy at the very same time with "Lady Willpower".  Great times ... Great music!  (kk)