Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Guess We've Had A Pretty Good Run

Looking back, maybe we've been pretty lucky after all.
Think about it ... we've been listening to and enjoying rock and roll music for nearly 60 years now.
At no other time in pop music history has this been the case.
When Elvis first crashed on the scene in 1956, his music didn't replace the music of 1896 ... it just replaced the contemporary music of the day.
When The Beatles invaded America in 1964, we were listening to American Rock and Roll Music ... not the music from 1914, fifty years earlier.  Yet 50 years later there have been countless anniversary celebrations of the momentous event.
When Disco hit it big in 1976, there wasn't anybody out there filling up the clubs dancing to the music of 1916 ... or 1926 ... or 1936 ... in fact, you couldn't find an outlet to hear this music, even if you wanted to!
And when Madonna became the latest rage in the '80's, there weren't music fans out there clamoring for more music from the 1930's, fasinated by its ageless appeal.
Yet here we are ... sixty years later ... and rock and roll music is still the preferred choice of the day.
Sure, it's evolved and changed over the years ... sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse ... but the basic root of rock and roll music is still with us today ... and, even after sixty years, the faithful Forgotten Hits readers only want more, more, more.
No other music has ever sustained an audience and continued to grow the way rock and roll music has.  We live and breathe it.  It's been with us every step of the way and gotten us through every life crisis and event ... and it's still going strong.
And, for the most part, the majority of this music still holds up well today ... still impacts and affects new listeners all the time, winning over new fans on a daily basis ... yet radio doesn't want to "time stamp" this music ... or offer a playlist larger than two or three hundred songs.
Don't they get it???  (Clearly they don't ... we've been singing this same song for nearly fifteen years now and lately, it's only gotten worse!!!)
Rock and Roll Music isn't going anywhere ... unless the greatest source of its growth simply abandons it all together.  PLEASE don't do this.  Radio gave rock and roll music life ... it brought it to every corner of the world and, as a result, reaped the benefit of billions of fans and listeners.  Don't turn your back on us now!
Looking back, maybe we've been pretty lucky after all. 
But we're not giving up without a fight.
re:  What Do You Want From Oldies Radio?:
Hi Kent -
Very interesting debate on that 50 year question.  To me it is exactly what we are discussing with some magazines and writers who are helping us promote all the new / old Fifth Estate material we have out just now. But to me anyway, I think David there in what you wrote has it about right - just mention the year - instead of stressing how long ago it was!!!  THAT makes perfect sense to me.
I like much music from the 1940s and 50s ... BUT I don't really care to hear how long ago that was.  But then again I like a lot from the 1600s and 1700s, and I don't mind hearing that it was 300 and 400 years ago.  In fact, I like that. 
Maybe if it's during our lifetimes, then it's the "avoidance factor" on the mortality issue I guess. So it seems to me mentioning just the year does AVOID all that.
Also, there have been several mentions about radio station WTAD lately.  A great our music station!!  I've been called to be on the Bill and Ed show a number of times. It's a Saturday night blast.  Wide open - great jocks - anything goes and usually does. Much more than old radio. They often have me, Furvus of The Fifth Estate, and say Moltey of The Barbarians on at the same time and Moltey always jokes with me about, "ah all you two-handed drummers, etc." But even better than that, if you can imagine, they just play great music!  They seem to have given the jocks free reign AND these guys just have great musical "taste."  That's what matters and what is most often missing now.  Another great thing these days is that with it being online as well as the radio, they don't just get out to Mass. and Rhody but "everywhere" it seems.  And the call-ins were immense from places like Oregon, Georgia, and London!   
Thanks -
Furv -  
Yeah, the sky's the limit these days when it comes to reaching an audience ... so why would you put anything other than your best foot forward when programming these stations?  Sadly, music fans have had to turn to the internet to find the music they really want to hear, simply because terrestrial radio isn't feeding it to them.  It's not unlike cable vs. network tv ... more and more of tv's best dramas are now produced by the "premium channels" and not the stations limited by content.  (Plus, of course, we get to see boobies ... but I digress!)
You bring up a good point, however ... back in the early days of radio, a lot of the jocks programmed their own music ... even brought in their own records to play on the air ... and, as a result, many a hit was born as this music found a new audience.  Today everything is so regimented that the jocks themselves don't even listen half the time.  (Let's face it ... how many times a day ... a week ... a month ... can you listen to "You May Be Right" by Billy Joel?  I'll bet even Billy himself turns it off these days!  And if not that one, then most certainly "It's Still Rock And Roll To Me"!!!)  kk
I agree with reader Phil's comments in that years ago the oldies station I was working for had a consultant who told the station not to mention the year the song came out.  I don't really remember the reason he said to do this.  He also told the station, for all practical purposes, not to backtrack or forward announce the name of the song which was to be played or had been played. One could do this but not every time.
That is where my problem has been through the years.
I like to think my knowledge of this music is a little above average. So when a song is not being told by the DJ or announcer what year it came out, I really don't care because I, for all practical purposes, know the year of its release. What I have a problem with is not telling the listener the name of the song and or the artist / group doing the song.
I can just imagine someone driving in his or her car listening to their favorite (?) oldies station on the radio. A song is played, an instrumental which is very familiar to the listener but they can't quite remember the title or group or artist. When said record is done, nothing is said about the title, artist or group. The listener is going bonkers for the rest of the day trying to remember the name of the song and or the artist / group.
The times in the past when I have listened to Sirius on my car radio (when they have free trial weeks), a few times they will play a song I simply can't remember or don't know. Usually it is of the doo-wop type which was played primarily back East.
Again, I think the year should be given out, maybe not every time, but surely most of the time.
I hate it when I hear an oldie on the radio and can't think of the name of the artist or group and title. One of those situations where it is right on the type of my tongue but can't think of it.  I know it just like I know my own name.
Yeah, instrumentals are the toughest.  MOST radio listeners don't have the background or musical knowledge of our Forgotten Hits readers ... and would be greatly helped by knowing this information, especially on some of those "ear worms" that drive you crazy all day long.  At least then they have the option to do the research and seek this music out.
And that JUST may be the biggest problem with oldies radio today.  Back in the hey-day of Top 40 Radio, radio was the GREATEST means of selling a record ... and the record companies knew this ... and depended on it.  Today, most couldn't care less about their "catalog artists" ... which is a shame ... because there's gold in them there hills if it's mined properly.  As discussed before, especially in this day of online music purchasing, there's literally NO expense attached to making this music available ... and promoting the hell out of it.
Perhaps if the record labels got behind this great catalog music ... and realized they could make a fortune by selling what they already have in their vaults ... radio would FINALLY expand and start playing more than the same 200-300 songs every day.  And, for a small investment, these record companies could advertise some of this product on the air, thus enticing listeners to call in and request hearing some more of this great music.  Sounds like a win / win situation to me!  (kk)
Good Morning, Kent,
Shout out to Jimmy Jay!  I had to respond to his mention of the 27 year old DJ being groomed at WATD 95.9 Marshfield, Mass. My favorite 'Oldies Station' primarily Saturdays noon to Midnight, and several after Midnight slots during the week.  The show can be streamed and they are archived to listen to 'on demand' from your 'online device'.
I also wish to complain for the very first time about the unnecessary 'details' relayed in the 'Rolf Harris' story.  Better to offer a link to the sordid details than to diminish the FH Blog's high standards to date by putting them in the body of the Blog. 
Regarding the mentioning of the release dates of songs, our lives and experiences are intertwined with music we listened to as we reached 'benchmarks' in our development so they are an important feature of the playing of them. I also think that cars are an important part of that development and memory making. I attended a great 'car show' this weekend with 'the oldies' blaring over loud speakers and getting a 'rush' from seeing all the great cahs (intentional inflection) we had the opportunity to enjoy ... it was like a live American Graffiti experience. I took special care to check out the back seats to recall great moments in my development, so maybe I shouldn't complain so much about the Rolf Harris article. 
Have a great Week,
No doubt about it, the Rolf Harris article went on WAY too long.  But the cool thing about Forgotten Hits is we put it all out there and you pick and choose what you want to read or spend time with.  Every piece isn't going to grab your attention and spark a memory ... but hopefully we get it right most of the time!  Will have to listen to WATD 95.9 this weekend and see what all the fuss is about!  Thanks, Charlie!  (kk)
Thank-you for your continued campaigning for the Oldies format despite, I'm sure, feeling like Benny Goodman at a Def Leppard concert!  We all know the music from our youth is timeless and continues to hang on by it's fingernails on the edge of the cliff while corporate and time march on.  Don't try to figure out the  current metamorphosis of radio, you won't ... it's changing faster than Joan River's face.  
I see the Jersey Boys movie is already out on DVD.  I still haven't seen it yet and though I have seen the stage show version in Vegas and it was excellent, I wish Clint Eastwood would have gone with the original Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons versions.  It would have been great to hear their music in a movie after having been brightened, remixed, and restored in the hands  of a digital wizard.  With Franki's voice and the Four Season's harmonies in the hey-day, I certainly think it would have turned the movie from a triple to a home-run.  
I know I am bouncing all over the place but I playing catch-up.  I did enjoy the "CNN-Sixties - British Invasion but trying capture that musical era in about 42 minutes (the show minus commercials), though it was good, didn't come close.  So many groups and performers in this abbreviated show didn't see the light of day -- this era certainly, as you mentioned, would have been better served in at least two hours and could have easily covered two or three shows.  
I remember playing the Mob's hit "I Dig Everything About You" in about 1970 ... it was about the same time as Chicago's "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is."  Didn't know the Mob were the innovators and so influential in the Windy City's Horn Sound.  I could be wrong but I would swear the Mob played the Merry-Go-Round Nightclub in Colorado Springs in the early-70's. 
And, speaking of great blue-eyed soul horn bands I am sure Larry Neal of KOMA can tell of the Fabulous Flippers out of Hays, Kansas, that traveled the Midwest, played to packed houses and had a regional hit in 1965 with "The Harlem Shuffle." Another great horn band, The Boogie Kings out of Eunice, Louisiana, were also spectacular.  Enclosed is a video of the Flipper's "Harlem Shuffle" and a video of G.G. Shinn that used to sing with the Boogie Kings (though his video has less-than-perfect sound it captures the soul-horn sound that permeated the mid-60's -- give it a minute to play past his introduction as it is worth the wait).  
Best Regards,  
Tim Kiley  
We had a very soulful "show band" that played around Chicago for quite a few years in what would have probably been the mid-to-late '70's called "Stop" ... GREAT bunch of guys playing some great music. They'd even come back and do an all-oldies set, much like Sha-Na-Na, vamping it up and just have a great time with the music.  I believe they traveled all over, too, and played Vegas every now and then.  I don't know if they ever did any recording or not ... but they were always fun to see in concert.
I've heard a lot about The Fabulous Flippers from many readers over the years ... sounds like these guys were YOUR local heroes back in the day.  So many REALLY great acts that never caught on nationally ... what a shame ... shows you just how competitive things really were at the time. 
As for "Jersey Boys", I don't think it's out on DVD just yet ... maybe available for pre-order?  (It's still playing in theaters all over Chicagoland ... we talked about seeing it again but consistently find better things to do ... how sad.  We looked forward to this movie for SO long.  (Meanwhile you'll find several four and five star reviews for the film on Amazon!)  kk
I almost always announce the year of the records I play on my FLip Side Radio show each week.  I say "almost" because sometimes I forget, LOL.  I guess I'm lucky because I get to choose my own playlist. 
The feedback I get from my listeners is that they like to know the date; it instantly transports them through time, back to when that song was released.  They even tell me where they were when they heard the song!  
My humble opinion is:  keep on announcing the date of the songs!
Mr. C.
I think it' a great barometer to transport you back in time ... and was surprised to hear these know-it-all consultants discouraging (and forbidding) it!  The way listeners are being driven away in droves certainly speaks volumes about who right they are.  (Why would ANYBODY listen to a radio consultant today ... when their best advice is:  Play exactly what the other guy is playing.  It must be working ... EVERYBODY'S doing it!!!)  Morons!!!  (kk)
I host karaoke. If one sings an oldie [50s, 60s, 70s, even 80s] I usually give the year of the song as well as some trivia.  There is always someone who appreciates this knowledge at a gig.  I love the fact that I have people born in 1990 choosing to sing 1960s era songs. It would be like someone my age choosing to sing Bing Crosby [which never happens].
Is there even such a thing as "Bing Crosby karakoke"?!?!  I agree ... seeing these young kids today get up there and belt out a song from the '60's and '70's is always fun ... it makes ME feel proud (and I had nothing to do with it!!!)  Then again, I've also seen the kids performing on American Idol having to pick a Motown Song or a hit from the '60's and '70's and, despite being very talented singers, having absolutely NO connection to it ... it's so foreign to them they can't do it justice ... which is just weird to me because this is the catchiest music around!  (kk)
Hey, if you love FUN SUMMER MUSIC, my Buddy TED BELL and 94.9 FM in Myrtle Beach is the place to dial up.  I hired him at WORG in 1962 and he is still spinning Great Music!
THIS is where you should be listening.
Marty Green
Mama Green's Favorite Son  {yes, I stole that from Clark Weber of WLS}
Betwixted and Between the Turntables Playing The Top 60 in Dixie  on WORG
They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
Clark Weber
Actually, we've plugged this station a few times before ... in fact, I listened for a half hour after you sent me the link again.  A nice mix of "beach music" ... not the constant stream of the same old oldies ... but quite a bit off the beaten path, too.  Still, it was an enjoyable listen.  (kk)