Elvis comes back: “If I Can Dream” (1968)

The most-watched television show of the 1968-1969 television season aired fifty years ago tonight. Singer Presents... Elvis was assembled from performance footage that had been taped earlier that summer, edited down to a 50-minute special, and aired on NBC. It gathered 42 per cent of the television audience on December 3, 1968. Perhaps more importantly, … Continue reading Elvis comes back: “If I Can Dream” (1968)

Bedrock and roll: The Beau Brummels, “Laugh Laugh” (1965)

(Above: Hitting the prehistoric big time.) Back in the day when we had a broadcasting major at GVSU, we had a course called "Life on Television." (Remind me to bring one or both of those things back one of these days.) In the end days of the course, I evolved it into a television history … Continue reading Bedrock and roll: The Beau Brummels, “Laugh Laugh” (1965)

Snow’s coming: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, “Stranded” (1980)

(Above: Mayday, this is Echo Hotel.) The first winter storm warning of the season is upon us for 2018. Unfortunately, it's hitting a good portion of the plains and upper Midwest on the busiest travel day of the year: the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Each year more travelers fly on this day more than other, and … Continue reading Snow’s coming: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, “Stranded” (1980)

Plenty of variety: The Billboard Hot 100 chart, November 15, 1980

(Above: Kenny Rogers, somewhere between psychedelia and chicken.) By the middle of November I was entrenched in my new school. My parents decided to move to Orland Park near the end of my sixth grade year; in fact, I commuted to Helen Keller School for the last three months of that year. I began seventh … Continue reading Plenty of variety: The Billboard Hot 100 chart, November 15, 1980

Rest in peace, Roy Clark: “Yesterday, When I Was Young” (1969)

Country music legend Roy Clark has passed away at the age of 85. I have to admit - Hee Haw was not something that I watched. Growing up as a kid in the Chicago area, I didn't have much exposure to Country music. Sure, there were radio stations playing it, like WMAQ (during the "WMAQ's … Continue reading Rest in peace, Roy Clark: “Yesterday, When I Was Young” (1969)

Fifty years ago today: WGRD’s Hot 30 In the Furniture City, November 14, 1968

(Above: The late Wayne Thomas - GR's Ron Britain, right down to singing the weather forecast.) Fifty years ago the country was preparing for a change in government - Richard Nixon had just been elected the 37th President of the United States. In Southern Illinois a couple that was married five months ago was preparing … Continue reading Fifty years ago today: WGRD’s Hot 30 In the Furniture City, November 14, 1968

Video killed the radio star: “Network Video Hour,” Lewis University Television Network, November 6, 1988

(Above: I may have a similar shirt, but that hair ain't comin' back.) In the two years I spent as an undergrad at Lewis University from 1987-1989 before setting out on my own to try and start a radio career, I probably spent more time in the radio station than anywhere else, including classrooms. One … Continue reading Video killed the radio star: “Network Video Hour,” Lewis University Television Network, November 6, 1988

What’s in a name? Mike Doughty, “27 Jennifers” (2008)

(Above: Map of most popular girls' names by state forty years ago.) I was having some fun on my radio show last week. (I should mention: there is now a weekly radio show.  It's called "Rock School with Len," and it airs Thursdays at 10am Eastern on WCKS Radio, the student station at Grand Valley … Continue reading What’s in a name? Mike Doughty, “27 Jennifers” (2008)

Pop perfection: The Left Banke, “Walk Away Renee” (1966)

(Above: An Album I have yet to find, but need.) Today I debut a tag for articles that I've been kicking around for a while now - "Pop Perfection." I think of it often when I'm driving, and I hear a song, and I think "Man, that's absolutely perfect, and I don't have to think … Continue reading Pop perfection: The Left Banke, “Walk Away Renee” (1966)

Rest in peace, Don Sandburg: The Banana Splits, “Tra-La-La Song” (1969)

(Above: The original Bozo's Circus cast: Ringmaster Ned Locke, bandleader Bob Trendler, Bozo [Bob Bell], Oliver O. Oliver [Ray Rayner], Sandy [Don Sandburg].) Don Sandburg, the last surviving original cast member of the Chicago edition of Bozo's Circus, passed away over the weekend in Oregon as a result of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was … Continue reading Rest in peace, Don Sandburg: The Banana Splits, “Tra-La-La Song” (1969)