Friday, March 13, 2020

The Friday Flash

Tonight’s Bay City Rollers concert at The Arcada Theatre has been postponed.  (These are, after all, precautionary times)
As soon as we have the official word on the rescheduled date, we will let you know.  (FAR bigger events than this have been cancelled from coast to coast ... and there still is no end in sight to this threat.  We all have to do our part to follow the precautions advised and help prevent this virus from spreading any further than it already has.)

FH Reader William Tietz send along this informative video for your consideration ... five minutes spent here watching this just might help to save your life and the lives of loved ones.  (kk)

Of course in the meantime, FH Reader Frank Buongervino sent in THIS video under the guise of "equal time" to represent the other side ...

Me-TV-FM is saluting all of the great instrumental hits from the rock era this weekend, kicking off at 7:00 tonight.  (You’ll find a few “forgotten hits” thrown into the mix as well … in fact, they’re even linking to our Instrumental Countdown from several years ago, profiling not only The Top 50 Instrumental Hits, 1955 – 1979, calculated mathematically by actual chart performance … as well as YOUR All-Time Top 50 Instrumental Favorites, as voted upon by our Forgotten Hits Readers.

Locals can listen live on 87.7 FM … but you can also catch affiliate streaming through any of these other options:
WJMK Flint: 
WXZO Burlington, Vt.:
KXXP Portland, Or.:

Amazon Commercial Resurrects 1974 Paul Carrack Hit, “How Long,” Sending it Up iTunes Charts After 45 Years | Showbiz411
kk …
A new way to get "OLDIES" back on the charts.
This ones not old enough for me .
This is one of those that falls into the WAY overplayed category … yet I really do love the song … they’re just wearing it out for me … and after seeing this Amazon commercial on television FOUR TIMES the other night, it looks like it’s only going to get worse.  Kinda like that Domino’s Pizza / “Old Time Rock And Roll” ad that places incessantly of late.  To paraphrase Paul McCartney’s lyrics to “Hey Jude,” “Take an old song … and beat the shit out of it” … to the point that nobody wants to hear it anymore.  It’s the vicious circle we live in.
Ace topped the Cash Box Single Chart when “How Long” was originally released in 1975.  (It stopped at #3 in Billboard.)  A good tune, nonetheless … but odds are I’ll be muting this commercial sooner rather than later.  (kk)

And, speaking of Paul McCartney, more news on the Peter Jackson / “Let It Be” film was released today … it will now open in theaters FIRST (on September 4th) before being released on home video.  (It’s also been officially retitled “Get Back,” which was always The Beatles’ original intent.)
Sounds like it’s a complete reworking / revamping of the original film (which is ALSO supposed to be re-released in its original form, probably in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary Box Set and Book that’ll commemorate the “Let It Be” film and album.  Why might even get an upgraded “Let It Be – Naked” CD!)  Jackson’s version (and I’m sure he’s been instructed to do so) will feature more of the “fun and playful” Beatles in the studio, showing that there was still a lot of love between the band members.  Word is that the new film will also include the COMPLETE rooftop concert ... the last time all four Beatles ever played together live.
(Most have felt that the film “Let It Be” in its original form simply documented the break up of the band.  I don’t know that I’d go THAT far … but there were quite a few tense and uncomfortable moments.)
In any event, I’ll be adding ALL of this new material to my collection again VERY soon … and I can’t wait!  (kk)
Some press for the new Dennis DeYoung album, “26 East, Volume 1,” finally out on April 10th (a collaboration with Jim Peterik of The Ides Of March) … 

You can listen to the first two singles here:
“To The Good Old Days,” recorded with Julian Lennon …

... and “East Of Midnight” …

“Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx” will be appearing at the House of Blues, 350 N. Dearborn in Chicago on April 3rd. The night will also feature a CD release sneak peek and Q&A. For tickets, visit

The Box Tops are doing The City Winery tour again this year … with appearances in Nashville on August 29th, New York City on September 11th, and right here in Chicago on August 23rd.  (None of these dates are posted on their official website but we have confirmation from Rick Levy that these three shows have been booked.)  I’m looking forward to reconnecting with Rick, Bill Cunninghams and Gary Talley when they hit The Windy City in August. 
(You can read our last interview with them here: )

Hi, Kent –
I've been reading all of the wonderful comments about Clark Weber ... I feel like I've lost a friend, even though I wasn't "close" with Clark.  I listened to him quite a bit on WLS in '62 and 63, and also on a couple of other local stations he was
at in the Chicago area.  A fine broadcaster with a genuinely fine personality.
Around 2015, Clark spoke at the Elk Grove Library.  Very interesting talk, and I bought his book, which, sadly, I haven't had time to read. But it WILL happen!
I spoke with Clark on ham radio a few times in the 70s, when many Chicago DJs were active on the bands;  Stu Collins was another DJ who would chat while tooling down the Kennedy and Edens from his home in the northern burbs.
Jeff Duntemann: Clark was originally W9GHM, and in the late 70s he changed his call-sign to W9FFB.  Don't know why.
73, Mike Wolstein
Check your book to see if it’s the second printing … it truly is the “new and improved” edition!  (kk)

A plea to all you radio tapers out there!!!

I've been talking with Allan Sniffen, who heads up the incredible Rewound Radio site, about doing a Dee Jay Hall Of Fame salute to Clark Weber ... but he doesn't have enough material in the way of quality airchecks to fill a program.

If ANYBODY out there feels that they can help fill in the gaps ... and give Clark the proper send-off / recognition he deserves ... please email me and I'll put you in contact with Allan.  (Who knows ... maybe we can even pull together enough material to feature it NEXT weekend!!!)

Have you seen Mac King's infamous rope trick? 
Even Penn & Teller can't figure out how he does it. 
It's been awhile since I won your "CLIP OF THE WEEK AWARD."

OK … I was entertained!!!  (How does he DO that?!?!?)  kk

And now, let's end the week with another "Chuck Buell Forgotten Hits Friday Funny!"

Thursday, March 12, 2020

More Clark Weber Memories

WLS fanatic Clark Besch has put together his own piece on Clark Weber, who he communicated with for years.  Some of those conversations, in Clark Weber's own words, are recounted below ... along with a few comments from me regarding conversations that WE had over the years that might help to show some additional insight.

With input from TWO Clarks, it's probably easiest just to identify as CB and CW for clarity's sake (with my own comments simply referenced as kk as usual) ... which I guess makes this whole experience a Clark Clark Kent Production!  (You'll find a few of the additional comments we've received at the end of this piece.)  kk 

CB:  I first met Clark Weber thru a mutual friend, Bob Hummel, in the early 2000's.  Like my friend, Bob, AND my dad, Clark was a HAM radio operator.  
Clark was writing his book (awesome one, at that) and I helped him with some tidbits of old info he used a little of.  From there and through Forgotten Hits, we started a long emailing campaign thru the years ever since, last hearing from him on January 9th of this year.  
I was a Ron Riley fan and thus on the opposite side of the Riley-Weber 60's fake radio feud, but Clark was a great friend in the 2000's as we both aged.  
Riley and Weber both came from Milwaukee in the early 60's to WLS, where they both became radio heroes to many of us Chicago AM top 40 radio fans before each moved to WCFL for a time and then on to other radio ventures.   
Clark did speeches in his last years on the past era of top 40 radio and such, even trying to get me to do the same and encouraging me on this passion I had shown him for the 60's WLS days.  He was such a nice guy to all that I could even forgive him when he judged the "Showcase '68" Cryan Shames episode and Archie Bell & the Drells won that show's talent prize. 
Below are some comments I have gleaned from his many emails to me over the years.  I was ALWAYS asking questions and he often replied with answers.  (Clark Weber's comments are shown in red.)

A general comment on me, the listener, and him, the performer:

CW:  Hi Clark;
I can tell how badly bitten you were and I totally understand. There was a magic on both ends of the microphone and whether you were a listener or a DJ, you knew it was a special time. The bond between the two lasted about 15 years, 1958 to about 1972, when rock radio began to loose its personality and exclusivity. That was due in part to programmers fighting for listeners' ears, the proliferation of FM stations going after the rock market and the erroneous idea that if you play the same music over and over again, the listeners will remain with your station. Each contributed to the problem plus the teens, who were the foundation of rock radio of the 50’s and 60’s, were growing up, getting married and taking on the mantle of adulthood. The listeners who followed you had a much larger choice of music and the pied piper who was calling them to the music no longer mattered. Today that special time is merely a memory. Mother Weber used to say. “The only one who likes change is a wet baby!”
The Other Clark  
CB:  As mentioned above, he was a HAM operator and I listened to WLS on my dad's Hallicrafter receiver: 
CW:  Read your recent comments on "Forgotten Hits" and had to chuckle at the picture of your Hallicrafter SX-28A. I was a Navy radio operator from 1950-1954 and spend four hours on and four hours off every day copying CW. The SX-28A was an orphan in our radio room, but because it reminded me of my civilian ham radio days, I adopted it as my main receiver. I often felt that it out performed the other receivers when the atmospherics were bad in the middle of the Yellow Sea off the coast of Korea. 
CB:  On his early career: 
CW:  It was 1958 when I went to work for the Balaban Broadcasting Company, which was a division of the Balaban & Katz, a Chicago Theatre Chain. At that time, they owned KBOX in Dallas, WIL in St Louis and WRIT in Milwaukee. I worked for WRIT from 1958 to August of 1961. I recall that only WIL was profitable due in part to the general economic times of the country. WRIT was the second station to rock in Milwaukee, as WOKY was the first. The entire Balaban radio division was run by a man named John Box. It was later discovered that prior to his directing the radio chain, he had spent time in jail for embezzlement. To the best of my knowledge, Storrs developed the first rock format although Drake certainly was also an early developer. Chicago began rocking in 1958 when Marshall Fields owned WJJD. He quickly grew tired of the format and sold it to Plough Broadcasting and, according to a 93 year old dj friend of mine, who was one of their first dj's, it still didn't make much money! It wasn't until Plough switched to country music that they started to see a reasonable profit. 
I recall the dilemma facing those early rocker s was cash flow. While they captured the teen market, it was a very difficult selling those ratings to the advertising market. Many, if not most stations and sponsors simply didn't believe those teen numbers translated into a viable market. WRIT struggled throughout its entire rock days trying to convince the market place that money could be made with those kids. It wasn't until WLS came along that those teen numbers were profitable. Even then, according to former LS salesman Ed Doodie, many clients who bought the station (which had huge numbers at night) were not pleased by the sales results. ABC, to their credit, insisted those kids had the money when, in fact, they didn't.  Balaban & Katz finally sold all of their radio holdings in the mid 1960's, as the stockholders became disenchanted with rock radio. 
It wasn't until I created my ad agency and I began to talk to other agencies and former clients of WLS that I discovered that while the glory was certainly there, and I reveled in it, that simply didn't translate into a profit for many of the sponsors. 
kk:  For the record, WJJD flipped to a rock format in 1956, not 1958, publishing their very first Top 40 Chart on June 11th of 1956.  WGN, WIND and even WBBM also dabbled in the rock and roll / Top 40 market in the late '50's ... and even after WJJD switched to an all country music format, their weekly charts continued as "The Top Tunes Of Greater Chicagoland."
When WLS made the switch in 1960, it was all but over for everybody else ... they became one of the giants in the industry.  But then, in late 1965, WCFL decided to give them a run for the money and, from 1965 thru 1975, we living here in Chicago were able to enjoy the greatest, most competitive era of Top 40 Radio. 
CB:  On some song placements on radio surveys: 
CW:  Some of these Silver Dollar anomalies can be attributed to the fact that a few Chicago distributors and national record companies discovered a way to scam the system. They would offer the record stores an incentive to misreport certain records sales. They, in turn, gave the stores free copies of certain other records that the stores would then sell and pocket the money. It was a payola in reverse. As I recall, we discovered this in 1968 when another distributor blew the whistle and told WLS what was going on. We then took immediate steps to prevent the further hyping of sales. We were unable to find out how long it had been going on. After I left WLS, I heard that ABC corporate cracked down on the music selection process at all of their music stations to prevent possible payola. While I was the PD (1966 to early 1969) and selecting the music, there was not even a mention or offer of payola because, frankly, I was being paid so well that I would have not risked jeopardizing my job for the money. After I left, I later heard rumors to the effect that the "Mob" labels were upping the anti and even offering new cars in returned for preferred airplay. Again, no exchange of money, no cribbing on the tax reporting and the "Mob" continued to call the shots on many of the so called hits. I don't doubt that it still goes on today as the power of the "Mob" was and still is enormous. 
kk:  Over the years of putting together Forgotten Hits, we have had MANY discussions about how the charts were assembled and calculated back in the glory days of Top 40 Radio.  Clark confided (and even put me in contact with the woman, whose name escapes me, who actually put these weekly charts together, who confirmed his analysis) that essentially only the Top 20 Records shown each week accurately depicted the ranking of the records as sold and played here in Chicago.  
The bottom 20 positions were records that the station was getting behind in the way of airplay or former Top 20 Hits working their way down the charts.  Quite often they would give a new premier a couple of weeks on the chart to see if it had any impact with the listeners and buying public ... if not, it disappeared just as quickly as it appeared.
Thanks to repeated airplay and heavy rotation (the most popular records getting played every 3-4 hours ... and a brand new premier by The Beatles, for example, every TWO hours), saturation helped make most of these songs ear-worms that continue to this day some 50-60 years later.  Keep in mind that back in the '60's and '70's, WLS and WCFL used to countdown their top hits every single day ... so you were assured of even hearing a "fly-by-night" track several times a week.  In between, they worked in "oldies" from the '50's, "flashback hits," brand new premiers, British imports, R&B tracks, album tracks and more.  It was, hands down, without question, the most exciting time in radio EVER.  Coupled with the engaging personalities of the jocks ... who were actually allowed to talk and entertain their audience ... it was pure magic. 
CB:  On the February 1967 winter storm and how WLS blew the coverage: 
CW:  I well remember Gene Taylor chewing me out the next day and I deserved it. The News Director, Hal Salzmann, lived on a farm south of town and was unable to get to the station to rally his news people.  The office staff had taken off and headed for home early because of the rapidly moving  storm and my air staff consisted of Dex Card, Art Roberts (Ron Riley was on vacation) and the Production director, Ray Van Steen, who left at 2 pm, plus Stan Dale in the newsroom. Even the ABC News Department on the 4th floor bailed out and headed for home. WGN beat us hands down that day because they had both the radio and TV people in the same building and did a great job of telling the story. I didn't and I learned! 
CB:  On pay scale at the Big 89 in the early 60's: 
CW:  Aside from Bernie Allen and myself, the rest of the airstaff was quite young and felt that the WLS union scale salary, starting at $32,000 a year, was a bonanza beyond belief. To the man, they came from medium sized markets where they were making, tops, $12,000 to 15,000 a year. That WLS salary plus one or two record hops a week added another $500 a week. Remember that a new Chevy at that time was $1800 to $2300 depending on the trim and engine. The afternoon drive paid $45,000 and mornings anywhere from $60 to $75,000. Over time, the mornings paid a little more topping out at $100 to $150,000. 
CB:  On Larry Lujack:
CW:  In some ways I think Larry evolved into Uncle Lar because of his huge disdain for all things showbiz. He was so anti-social concerning the business, the station and the other air guys that he was left to his own devices. Other than “Lil Tommy,” who rode Larry’s coat tails, the staff found it best to give Larry wide birth. They didn’t dislike him it was simply wise to give him wide birth. Because he was so morose.  Even playing golf with him was not fun as he was a man of few words. 
kk:  I have to defend Tommy Edwards here for just a moment.  Both before and after his association with Larry Lujack, Tommy was a VERY successful and highly regarded broadcaster.  The "Uncle Lar and Li'l Snot-Nosed Tommy" / "Animal Stories" pairing was pure magic ... and started quite innocently ... but soon snowballed things into massive proportions. Still, Tommy Edwards did just fine on his own.  (His retirement a few years ago was an emotional heartbreak, both for Tommy AND all of his years-long faithful listeners.)
Ironically, when Real Oldies 1690 launched and Tommy and Larry reunited (albeit Lujack via a phone line from his home in New Mexico), it was LUJACK who became the "sidekick" to Tommy, who pretty much ran the show.
CB:  Comments on the Silver Dollar Survey change of name to "Hit Parade" when Lujack came to the station in 1967: 
CW:  I’ll try to answer your questions ... however, bear in mind your trying to plumb the depths of a 86 year old man!
The “Super Summer” change to the survey was part of a promotion that took several months to bring about. Seems NY legal was very cautious about any changes, including our “Super Summer” idea. It turned out to be an great promotion that was conceived by our promotion director Frank Nardi. The change from the “Silver Dollar Survey" to the “Hit Parade Survey” was the work of John Rook, who proceeded me as PD. He was a fan of Gordon McClendon, who originated the idea of format radio in the late 50’s. It worked well until the advent of FM competition that overwhelmed it with their wide open play lists and wall to wall music. By 1970, the musical erosion of Top 40 radio had begun and sales suffered. 
As for the bottom of the playlist, Gene Taylor was right ... those songs were merely added to give some new variety to the lists. The record companies allegedly discovered another way to make money two ways. They gave the record stores many of those new releases for free as a bonus if they would report sales on those records. After all, they would point out, that LS was playing them. The stores pocketed the money without having to report it and the record companies generated interest in the artists. It was a  win / win situation and occasionally those bottom feeders would become hits. The mob was (and probably still is) ingenious when it comes to making money in the record business. Some of those labels may still be controlled by some very nasty people! 
As for SGT Pepper, I recall that Art, Ron and Don Phillips played the album cuts while the day staff stuck with the hit singles.
The AM radio hemorrhaging, of course, continued until 1984 when WLS  pulled the plug and went talk.
Today I have an 19 year old grandson who is head over heels in love with 60’s music. He can’t believe that I knew Mama Cass or Ringo. When I told him that doofus “Phony Joanie" Baez lived with Bob Dylan for a time and that they both became monosyllabic, he thought I was pulling his leg! 
kk:  There was NO love lost between Clark Weber and John Rook! Having befriended both of them through our efforts of Forgotten Hits, both of whom sang our praises on a regular basis, it was a fine line to walk sometimes, listening to them discredit and insult each other "off the record."
John Rook always believe in "The Hit Parade," dating back to the early '50's television show of the same name as being the most accurate way to present and showcase the week's biggest hits ... so once he came onboard, that was the very first thing he changed.  (I grew up believing that "The Silver Dollar Survey" was something COMPLETELY unique to the Chicago radio market, only to find out decades later that there were radio stations issuing silver dollar surveys all over the country ... kinda like the whole Boss Radio concept we talked about a short while back in FH.)
I know that Ron Riley had FAR more leeway in presenting The British Invasion Hits, even airing "The British Billboard" every week ... and playing import tracks that appeared on Beatles UK pressing that were cut from their US counterparts.  As such, we sometimes got advance sneak peeks on songs that would later make their mark on the American charts (although just as often we had to endure "flash in the pan" tracks that we couldn't believe the British teenage audience was embracing!)
It's funny, with Clark mentioning Ringo ...
One of our last public get-togethers was at The Downtown Hard Rock Cafe.
Greg Brown of 94.7 / WLS-FM was doing a live feed and Clark Weber was one of the invited guests that he was going to interview during the proceedings.  The cause for celebration was the fact that Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band were playing in Chicago that weekend ... and The Hard Rock Cafe had a VERY large exhibit going on at the time of Ringo's photographs ... so there was also the rumor that Ringo might show up during this event.
I had planned to go regardless ... but the Clark invited me to take part in the Greg Brown interview with him as well.  (Unfortunately, Greg Brown wanted NO part of that, this despite the fact that he was quite familiar with Forgotten Hits and had even used a few of our programming suggestions on the air before ... so every time Clark would try to bring me into the conversation, Greg would steer the conversation in a different direction!)  Once again, I was fine with this ... Clark was there to talk about meeting The Beatles at the peak of Beatlemania and introducing The Fab Four at their Comiskey Park concert ... none of which had ANYTHING to do with me!  (Longtime FH readers will recall that although I had the chance to see The Beatles live at Comiskey Park in 1965, my dad refused to let me go because it would have meant a round-trip drive to Deerfield to pick up the next day from my cousins' house.  It was my one and ONLY chance to experience The Beatles live ... and has left emotional scars that still exist to this day!  lol)
Bernie Allen was driven to the event by his daughter, who I was able to spend some time with while he joined Clark on stage.  Sadly, Bernie passed away just a few short weeks later.  As such, this has become a very special memory for me.
CB:  Upon hearing of Clark's passing, James Holvay sent me this message: 
JIM HOLVAY:  I never met Clark.  I would’ve liked to thank him for giving The Chicagoans a little glimpse of recording success by naming our instrumental “Beatle Time” and our group“ The Livers”.He related from the Mob story site on how Clark NAMED his group and song! 
WLS, a Midwest powerhouse radio station, was having their annual Christmas Party. Sheppard invited DeFrancesco to go along with the Chicagoans tape in tow. While at the party, they played the tape for Clark Weber, who at the time was the Program Director for the station. He wasn't impressed with the vocalist; but, when the instrumental trak followed, it immediately caught his attention.
He asked Sheppard who the band was. Sheppard said, "It's a group called The Chicagoans". Clark said, "I like it. What's the name of the song?" There was no title, and so Clark named it "Beatletime". In order to take advantage of the British Invasion, he suggested changing the name of the band to The Livers, as in Liverpool, England. 
CW:  Clark, I will miss all the nice comments and passion you have had for broadcasting all of these decades.  Your memory will live long, as witnessed by the huge amount of comments in the press from listeners already.
CB:  Rest in peace, the OTHER OTHER Clark 
kk:  Amen
kk:  From Clark Besch's massive collection of newspaper, fan magazine and trade magazine clippings, here are some photos, etc., that he sent along to share
CB:  Clark did so many sock hops and dances with our local heroes and Tommy James and the "Shandells" (?), whose "Hanky Panky" was panned by Clark years before this gig in late 1966:

kk:  Clark readily admitted that he TOTALLY blew it in assessing Tommy James' career when Tommy first asked him if he would consider playing his band's new record on the air.  In fact, it became one of his more popular anecdotes over the years.  In his book, "Rock And Roll Radio:  The Fun Years, 1955 - 1975," Clark recounts the story this way:

CW:  I'm the first to admit that I didn't always hear "hit record" when a song was first played.  In 1965, I was doing a beach part record hop at the Glen Lord Beach Park Pavilion in Niles, Michigan, when a very polite teenager asked me if I would listen to a record that he and his friends had written and recorded.  I said that I would and put it on the turntable.  My first reaction was that it was a bit primitive, but I decided to be gentle in my response.  I told him that while it was a good first try, it wasn't something that WLS would have an interest in playing on the air.  Yet, soon after, a Pittsburgh DJ started playing the song, and in a while it took off.  Before you knew it, Roulette Records heard it and signed the singer to a contract in 1966.  It became such a big hit that people still dance to it today.  The kid's name was Tommy James, and the song was "Hanky Panky."

kk:  Now therein lies one of the many guffaws I referred earlier in Clark's book ... Tommy James didn't write "Hanky Panky" ... it was written by the songwriting team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, and had previously been the B-Side of a record released by The Raindrops called "That Boy John."  Thanks to Tommy's experience working in a Michigan Record Store, he was familiar with the song ... added it to his band's repertoire ... and soon it became one of their most popular songs during their many live teen dance hops at which they were performing.  Based on the kids' reaction, Tommy KNEW that this one could be a hit ... yet it would take three years for that to happen.  (Tommy James and the Shondells first recorded it in 1963 for the small, local Snap Record Label and, other than copies he sold out of his trunk or at live performances, it went absolutely nowhere.  A deejay in Pittsburgh discovered the track in 1966 and started playing it on the air and the switchboard lit up like The 4th of July!)  It went to #1 all over the country, topping Billboard's Hot 100 Chart for two weeks in the Summer of 1966.  Here in Chicago it held the #1 spot on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey for four weeks and went on to become the #1 Hit of 1966 on their Year-End Chart.  Read Tommy James' fascinating book "Me, The Music And The Mob" for more insight.  (I think he forgave Clark Weber for misjudging him ... although I'm sure there was still at least a small hint of "I told you so!" in Tommy's mind!  lol) 
Months before Clark gave the Shadows of Knight a hit with "Gloria," he was doing gigs with the then unknowns:
kk:  The Shadows Of Knight scored a #1 Hit on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey in 1966 thanks to the suggestive hand of Clark Weber.
As the Program Director at the time, Clark decided NOT to play Them's version of the tune as he found it too suggestive for AM / teenage airplay.
Instead, he approached local record producer / manager / promotions man Bill Trout, who had The Shadows Of Knight in his stable of artists, and suggested that if his band recorded a CLEAN version of the track, WLS would play it on the air.
They did ... and so did he ... and the rest, as they say, is history.  "Gloria" is considered one of rock and roll's greatest anthems today ... and Jimy Sohns is STILL singing the song with his latest version of The Shadows Of Knight and as part of the very popular Cornerstones Of Rock shows that play all over the midwest.
Here is Clark's recap of these events, taken from his book ... with yet another misstep ... 
It wasn't the Zombies who recorded the original ... that distinction belongs to the Irish rock group Them, led by Van Morrison, who also wrote the track.

CW:  The program director is responsible for everything that goes on the air, including the music.  The job also involves making sure that the station doesn't lose its license because of what is said or played on the air, and that included songs with suggestive lyrics.  That was easy to do in the '50's and early '60's, but as we entered the mid-'60's, some lyrics began to cross the line.
In fact, the strangest local group came about because of another group and an objectionable lyric.
The Zombies were a British group that released a song with "hit" written all over it.  However, one of the lyrics was "I knocked on her bedroom door, and she let me in!" (Again, not 100% completely accurate ... but you get the idea.-kk)
In the mid-'60's, believe it or not, radio stations did a good job of policing such lyrics for two reasons:
They didn't want to lose their FCC broadcasting license for playing objectionable songs; and we programmers felt an obligation to keep the air waves clean.
Today, that sounds quaint, but it was very much on our minds in the '60's.  While I was listening to The Zombies' song, a Chicago record producer named Bill Trout came into my office. 
I commented that the song was great, but I couldn't play it because the lyrics included the idea about a boy knocking on a girl's bedroom door and her letting him into his room.
Trout asked, "Would you play that song if it didn't have that objectionable line in it?"
I said, "Sure" ... but I didn't give his comment another thought.
The next morning, Bill was in my office with a test pressing of the revised record.  He had been up all night rehearsing and recording the song with an unknown band.  I put the new version on the WLS playlist, and the rest is history.  The group was called The Shadows Of Knight ... and the million-seller was the song "Gloria." 

A few more pics ...

And of course, his on air battle with Riley and Clark's DC5 vs. Riley's Beatles battles:

No wonder this ad was appearing by 1966!
Even his wife, Joan, got celebrity status during WLS' "Super Summer" 1967!
More from our readers ...
Sorry I’m a bit late in responding to the passing of Clark Weber, but here are some thoughts I would love for you to share and add to all the great comments about Clark. 
He sure brings back a lot of great memories when we were just getting started. 
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of legendary Chicago DJ Clark Weber, as we just learned of his passing yesterday, at the age of 89. 
When the first Buckinghams' songs were getting played on the radio, he was an important part of our radio history as well ... not only as a DJ who introduced himself often as "Mother Weber's favorite son," but also for his well known "fun" feud with on-air rival Ron Riley. 
Beyond DJ, Clark became a radio consultant and program director to virtually every Chicago radio station, and wrote a book "Clark Weber's Rock and Roll Radio" based on his career experiences. 
His wit and wisdom will be missed but he will always be remembered with respect and regard. 
Robert Feder has a nice tribute article at…/…/08/clark-weber-1930-2020/… 
and a great past story on Clark and Ron coming together for one special broadcast at:…/friendly-rivals-to-recall-wl…/
On behalf of the entire Buckinghams family, we share our sincere condolences. 
Carl Giammarese
The Buckinghams 
We've received quite a bit of praise for our tribute to Clark Weber as well (which incorporates the original Feder article):
I had forgotten all about the fact that Ron Riley was supposed to take part in that Hard Rock Cafe exhibit I mentioned above ... he couldn't make it in at the last minute.  (Maybe THAT'S why Clark invited me to attend!!!  NOW it all makes sense!)  And Bernie Allen coming by was an added treat, too.
Clark and Bernie played to the "older demographic" of the WLS audience ... they were much more mainstream and played a lighter (read soft rock / adult contemporary) mix of music on their programs.  Joel Sebastian is another Chicago broadcaster who comes to mind who fits this bill.
They left the rock and roll to the younger jocks at the station ... and the new kids who came along over the years ... including Larry Lujack, Ron Britain, Barney Pip, Chuck Buell, Kris Erik Stevens, John Records Landecker, Bob Sirott and others added their own new dimension to Top 40 radio broadcasting.  It was a VERY fun time to be listening to the radio.  Clark Weber wasn't one of those "hip and happenin'" jocks ... even early on at the station that distinction went to a guy by the name of Dick Biondi ... but he WAS an absolute broadcasting pro ... and his style and gift of gab appealed to many generations of listeners.  (And, to be fair, no matter how square he might have seemed sometimes to my 13-year-old self, being constantly taunted and battled with by Ron Riley made him one of MY favorites, too!)  kk
What a great collection of Clark Weber tributes and memories in Forgotten Hits. 
I didn’t know him real well, because when I was asked to join WLS in the late 60s for early evenings, his show was in the early mornings and with our two air times on the opposite sides of the clock, (both shows 6 to 10, AM and PM), we seldom saw each other except during “jock meetings,” or on the rare occasions of a full air personality lineup for a promotional photo shoot or at an appearance for a station promotion. But even with that little contact, and for the short time we were “Big 89 Broadcast Brothers,” no wait, make that, "well-established highly professional radio veteran and promising young eager hotshot!” what I read summed up the guy who I did know briefly spot on. A very special, and rare individual.
Chuck Buell

Hi Kent,
Other than the occasional static-filled captures of AM Chicago radio that I could occasionally pick up on my shortwave radio at night, I didn't hear much of the legendary broadcasts from the Windy City in the '60s and '70s.  But when I became somewhat of a radio guy myself as a young man, I heard many tales of that vibrant scene and availed myself of all the airchecks I could find.
So when I spotted Clark Weber's book at a local store a decade ago, I snapped it up and enjoyed his first-hand stories of his exploits and the era that had such a profound effect on me.  I managed to chase down an email address on him and wrote to congratulate him and offer the opinion that should a film on his career ever be made, his doppelganger Anthony Edwards (ER's Dr. Mark Greene) would have to be the actor to portray him.  He sent a gracious and amused reply and said that many people had made note of that resemblance over the years, especially since he gave up the toupee.
Even via such a remote connection, Clark just came across as a heckuva nice guy -- something that was confirmed over and over again by his occasional comments on Forgotten Hits, and certainly by your tribute and those of others this morning.
I'm sad that I never met him and sad that he's gone.  But he spent his life doing what he loved, he evidently had a lifelong happy marriage, and he was clearly admired by countless friends, fans and colleagues.  You can't do better than that.
My sincere condolences to you and Clark Weber's family and many friends.
Scott Paton 
Hi Kent: 
That was a nice collection of tributes to Clark Weber that you posted today, a good cross-section of fans, musicians and media folk.  Clark Weber was never a radio superstar, but he’s proof that nice guys can make it in the business simply by doing their job well.  There’s a lot to be said for that. 
Also, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got to your personal anecdote about his book, in the “Now it can be told” part of your blog.  
When Clark published his book back in 2008, I rushed out and bought a copy.  I reacted to it the same way you did — 
I couldn’t look past all the mistakes!  In fact, I wrote my own blog about it at the time, expressing my mixed emotions about it — how, on the one hand, I loved the delightful nostalgia of it but, on the other, my enjoyment was diminished by the fact that all those errors could have been avoided with some simple fact-checking.  I remember saying something like, “Couldn’t he have gotten someone to help him with the research or at least the proofreading?”  Now, after reading about your experience with the same issues, maybe I shouldn’t have been so harsh.  But, between you and me, the errors really got in the way. 
Thanks for including my comments and those of Neal Sabin in your obit. 
Have a good week. 
Rick O'Dell
The volume of mistakes bothered me to the point that I just couldn't let it go.  It meant a lot to me that Clark considered me a close enough friend and willingness to help in a positive way.  I just wanted the most accurate story to be out there, since it was such a great story to tell ... and my fear was that other memories in the book would come into question if too many full blown mistakes were left in ... all credibility could easily fall by the wayside.  (As such, I have to HIGHLY recommend the SECOND pressing of the book rather than the first, which is the edition that spurred me into action!)
One point I could NEVER get Clark to concede ...
He argued for as long as I knew him that the original records released by Vee Jay Records by The Beatles were of inferior quality ... stating numerous times that until Captiol Records went in and "cleaned up those tapes," these songs NEVER would have been hits.
This simply wasn't the case.
The songs that Vee Jay released were the exact same songs and mixes as issued by Parlophone in England the year before.  Capitol didn't clean up ANYTHING ... in fact, they didn't even release "Please Please Me" and "Twist And Shout" and "Do You Want To Know A Secret" until 1965 when they put out "The Early Beatles" album ... some two years AFTER these records were first released across the pond.  (In fact, "From Me To You" didn't show up on an LP until the so-called "Red Album" from 1973!)
Vee Jay issued "Please Please Me" as a single in the spring of 1963 to virtually no fanfare (other than a two week showing on the WLS chart, with the misspelled "Beattles" on the label.) Capitol passed on several of the early releases ("She Loves You" and "Love Me Do" being two other HUGE #1 Hits that they didn't feel had any potential) ... but there was absolutely NO difference in the mixes that eventually sat at the top of the charts once America caught on than the ones originally released and ignored the year before.  (In fact, if you listen to one of the WGN podcasts posted yesterday featuring an interview with Bob Sirott, you'll hear Clark tell this story AGAIN about the inferior early mixes of these hits.  It simply isn't true.)  kk 
Kent -- 
I have only one Clark Weber story, apart from having listened to him a lot when I was a tween, a teen, and as a college kid at DePaul. 
In 1977, I was prowling the ham radio bands on my Kenwood TS-520 from our house in Rogers Park, and heard someone calling CQ. (Basically, ham radio shorthand for "Anybody out there want to talk?")  I replied, and chatted with the chap for a minute or two, thinking, Damn, that voice is familiar. Then, my colleague said, "Name here is Clark" and it all fell into place. After years of talking to me (and millions of others), Clark Weber had listened to ME on radio, and we had a great conversation. He never said he was Clark Weber, and I never asked, but I was cool with that. There was no way on earth that it was anyone else but him. (I no longer have my log book from that era, so I don't recall his callsign.)
--Jeff Duntemann K7JPD
  Scottsdale, Arizona
Hi Kent:
Very sad news about Clark Weber. A True Classic. 
I listened to WLS up here in Brew Town a lot back in the day, so I heard many of the great WLS jocks as well as up here in Milwaukee. I did the WRIT book as you know, and Clark Weber was a jock there, right before heading to WLS. He was also born and raised in Wauwatosa, which is where I am from ... in fact, we even went to the same school. 
I don't know if it's more ironic or more appropriate he died at age 89! 
Clark Weber dying at 89???
I don't know that you could write a better final chapter.  (kk)