Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why The Future Of Radio ... And '60's Music ... Is Doomed

OK, I'll admit upfront that I was tired and aggravated from a VERY long and grueling day at work BEFORE I got in my car to drive home ... but it's this kind of stuff that causes me to lose ALL faith in the future of radio and the music we love.

First up, the deejay on The Loop intro'd the next song he was about to play this way:

"No, it wasn't the drugs that made him come up with this title ... it was his young five-year-old son Sean's drawing of a classmate titled 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' that gave us one of The Beatles' greatest tracks."

Whaaaat?!?!  I found this to be ESPECIALLY interesting since Sean wouldn't even be born for another eight years!!!

Of course the PREMISE of the story is true ... but if you're going to go out on the air and tell it, at least get your facts straight.  It was John's son JULIAN who came home from school with the picture ... and this tale is probably one of the most famous stories in Beatles folklore.  Since Day One, The Fabs have insisted that "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" had absolutely NOTHING to do with LSD ... despite the fact that most fans and critics alike refused to believe it.  

Well, folks, it's true ... so get your facts straight before you go out on the air and broadcast lies.  (Julian also inspired Paul McCartney to write "Hey Jude", originally titled "Hey Jules" because he knew the young lad was going through a difficult time due to his parents impending divorce.)

Disgusted, I switched the channel ... only to hear K-Hits promoting some type of Motown Revue that includes The Temptations, featuring "original member Dennis Edwards".  

When did I cross over into The Twilight Zone?!?!

Edwards (a former member of The Contours) joined The Temptations in 1968, some 25 hits into their career.  (He replaced the problematic David Ruffin.)  To his credit, Dennis holds the distinction of handling the lead vocals on many of the group's biggest late '60's and early '70's hits, a period where they branched into a much broader scope of musical styles, including soul-psychedelia ("Cloud Nine", "Psychedelic Shack", "Ball Of Confusion" and "I Can't Get Next To You") as well as funk ("Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" and "Shakey Ground".)  He has left ... and returned ... to The Temptations several times over the years ... and, by all indications, is apparently back again ... but a quick fact check says that THIS isn't exactly true either!!!

Edwards fronts "The Temptations Revue", a Temptations TRIBUTE band who reportedly are more successful than the REAL version of The Temptations performing today (which DOES include the only surviving original member, Otis Williams.)

On the one hand, I agree that Edwards should hold some rights to perform under some semblance of The Temptations name ... he really DID sing all these hit records ... and I'm sure they put on a FINE show ... but there's a certain element to "Truth In Advertising" that is being blatantly misrepresented here.

The much BIGGER problem, of course, is the fact that the disc jockeys ... and the folks running the radio stations today ... don't have a CLUE as to what the facts are.  (I've already resigned myself to the fact that far too many of the people involved in radio today ... whether it be the on-air talent, the program director or the radio station manager ... probably weren't around when all this great music was being created ... and, as such, have no connection to the music they're playing at all.  But if you're going to blurt it out over the air, at least know what the heck you're talking about!!!)

The truth is, they'd prefer their deejays not talk at all ... just play the music and give out the call letters.  Meanwhile, it's the audience who is being cheated by being fed a bunch of crap that simply isn't true.  And, before you know it, these "falsities" get repeated as facts amongst those who might still have an interested in this music ... and pretty soon the whole world is turned upside down with misnomers and lies.  Worst part is, many of these artists aren't around anymore to set the record straight ... and sooner or later even Forgotten Hits will cease to exist despite our best efforts to spread "The Most Accurate Truth".  (Although I DO plan on being here In The Year 2525 just to see if Zager and Evans were right!!!)  kk


While cruising this past weekend, I heard Tom Kent play Kiss You All Over by Exile.  He said "from the group that gave the World Country superstar Vince Gill".  I am not sure where he heard that.  Vince was the lead singer of Pure Prairie League for a time. 
Phil Nee - WRCO    

I'm amazed by the amount of erroneous information given out over the air by disc jockeys who really SHOULD know better.  (And this is certainly the case with Tom Kent!  He's been doing this quite awhile.)  You are correct ... you can clearly hear Vince's voice at the helm of Pure Prairie League's only Top Ten Hit, "Let Me Love You Tonight" from 1980.  (And no, he was NOT a member of Exile.)  His solo career kicked into high gear about twelve years later. 

During all The Beatles Celebration and hoopla going on in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of their first trip to America, I heard one disc jockey (who clearly wasn't even born yet at the time) telling his audience (with a great amount of enthusiasm and surprise in his voice) how their first single "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was backed up with the German version of the same song ... and then admitting to his audience "Now there's something I didn't know."  OMG ... wrong on absolutely EVERY level.   

Another jock announced on February 7th (the anniversary of the date The Beatles first touched down on American soil) that this was the anniversary of the date "that The Beatles had The Top Five Records in America."  Hmm ... not exactly.  That didn't happen until April 4th.  And another played "Octopus' Garden" and then declared "one of only two songs ever written by Ringo Starr."  Of course, that's not true either, even if speaking only on a Beatles level.  Don't do just enough research to find a little piece of history worth talking about ... and then make up your own ending to the story ... you'll look like an idiot!  

How really sad this is ... and even sadder still is that some listeners will hear this crap and, not knowing any better, believe it ... and potentially repeat it ... eventually insuring history to be forever wrong in this regard.  And it's happening more and more.  I barely listen to the radio at all anymore ... yet I still hear crap like this being broadcast as "fact" but a bunch of people who don't ... but really SHOULD ... know better.    

Get it together, people.  As a broadcaster you have a fiduciary responsibility to broadcast these facts accurately to your audience ... so do your homework ... brush up on the medium you have selected to make your career ... and EDUCATE those listening to you.   You've got their ear ... and, if you're really good, their trust.   

That's why it is SO important to me to get the facts straight ... if not, what will people think 1000 years from now?!?!  (kk)