Rest in peace, Bob Dorough: Schoolhouse Rock, “Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here.”

Bob Dorough passed away on April 23, 2018 at the age of 94.  That's not a name most people recognize, but if you are an American between, say, 30 and 50, you are intimately familiar with his work and may not even realize it. In fact, you may owe him a debt of gratitude. Dorough … Continue reading Rest in peace, Bob Dorough: Schoolhouse Rock, “Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here.”

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Bookends at fifty: Simon and Garfunkel, “America” (1968)

(Above: What was Frances McDormand's line from Almost Famous?) Fifty years ago today - April 3, 1968 - Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel released the LP Bookends. This was one of the first LPs that I recovered from my parents' stash upon finding that they had more than just 45s in a box. (I touched … Continue reading Bookends at fifty: Simon and Garfunkel, “America” (1968)

Forty years ago in Chicago: The WLS Top 45s, April 1, 1978

(Above: No one has ever doubted this claim.) April Fool's Day 1978 would have been at the end of fourth grade for me. By this time I was starting to add my own records into the pile of vinyl that I had inherited from my parents (written about variously here and here, among other places). … Continue reading Forty years ago in Chicago: The WLS Top 45s, April 1, 1978

Greatest misses: Duke Baxter, “Everybody Knows Matilda” (1969)

(Above: The song's not quite as trippy as the picture sleeve.) In August of 1969 a record made a brief appearance on the Billboard Hot 100, stalling at #52.  It was a fun little number about an almost-but-not-quite-one-night-stand (if we can invent that terminology) with a seemingly popular girl named Matilda. Just who sang the … Continue reading Greatest misses: Duke Baxter, “Everybody Knows Matilda” (1969)

The gift that kept on giving: My first 45s, 45 years later (Part 2)

(Above: Clearly Mom wanted the records in the basement. That's usually where they end up.) In the last post I explained that I received my first record player 45 years ago, and started rifling through my parents' records. This past weekend I went through a few thousand 45s, found the original records I inherited, and … Continue reading The gift that kept on giving: My first 45s, 45 years later (Part 2)

The gift that kept on giving: My first 45s, 45 years later (Part 1)

(Above: The box of records that used to belong to my parents. I've had it for 45 years.) Think back to when you were a kid.  What was the one gift that you received that you remember more than any of the others? The one that, though you didn't know it at the time, changed … Continue reading The gift that kept on giving: My first 45s, 45 years later (Part 1)

So long, WLUP: Songs I learned from “The Loop”

Word spread rapidly this morning that Merlin Media, who had been trying to sell Chicago's WLUP, finally found a buyer: the Educational Media Foundation. EMF serves the contemporary Christian format over satellite to its affiliates.  The format, called "K-Love," has been on the air on a signal out of suburban Elgin for some time, but … Continue reading So long, WLUP: Songs I learned from “The Loop”

Great lost hit: Paul Carrack, “Don’t Shed a Tear” (1987)

(Above: The One Good Reason LP) One of the things that gold-based formats consistently get wrong is an over-reliance on the same songs over and over. I know I've ranted about the "decades" channels on Sirius XM before, but they serve as a perfect example of "not going deep enough." Deeper lists equal low cumulative … Continue reading Great lost hit: Paul Carrack, “Don’t Shed a Tear” (1987)

One night in college radio: The Tuesday Night Classics, WLRA-FM, February 23, 1988

(Above: The author, right around the time that this show aired. His fashion sense is only marginally better.) February 23, 1988 was a Tuesday. I had just gotten back from a vacation with my family to New Orleans to take part in the Mardi Gras festivities - my first time ever visiting the Crescent City. … Continue reading One night in college radio: The Tuesday Night Classics, WLRA-FM, February 23, 1988

“L’amour est bleu” and other mellow sounds: The Billboard Hot 100, February 17, 1968

(Above: The song at Number One, as I remember it looking....) Fifty years ago this week Paul Mauriat's "Love Is Blue" was the number one song in the country.  About three years after that it became my earliest memory of a phonograph. I've shared a picture before of my mother holding me next to our … Continue reading “L’amour est bleu” and other mellow sounds: The Billboard Hot 100, February 17, 1968