Christmas on the air: The songs I hated – and loved – to play

  In the last post, I talked about working in both retail and in radio.  In both careers I got to deal with people, often at their worst.  I also worked on or around Christmas in both jobs, and it is for that reason that I think I never truly appreciated the holiday like I … Continue reading Christmas on the air: The songs I hated – and loved – to play

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‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the mall: Atlantic Soul Classics (1985)

(Above: The mall used to get a bit trashed on the day after Christmas.) In my career, I have worked in three main areas: Retail (1985-1988). My first job was selling cigarettes to minors at a gas station in Tinley Park, IL. From there I moved to working at the mall. Most of the time … Continue reading ‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the mall: Atlantic Soul Classics (1985)

Rest in peace, Dick Orkin: The Adventures of Chickenman (1967)

(Above: An LP I do not own, have been looking for for some time, and will have a harder time getting now.) Late Christmas night we got word from Lisa Orkin that her father, Dick Orkin, passed away at the age of 84. The name might not ring a bell for you unless you are … Continue reading Rest in peace, Dick Orkin: The Adventures of Chickenman (1967)

The Graduate at 50: Simon and Garfunkel, “The Sounds of Silence” (1965)

(Fun fact: that leg belongs to Linda Gray, or so she claims.) Every semester, in every class I teach, I save time on the last day for a lecture I call "So, What Didn't I Teach You?" It's an opportunity for students to question me about anything that they were expecting to cover in the … Continue reading The Graduate at 50: Simon and Garfunkel, “The Sounds of Silence” (1965)

Christmas on the hi-fi: The Ray Conniff Singers, “Ring Christmas Bells” (1962)

(Above: Darn, that looks like fun in stereo.) When we think of classic Christmas albums, many of the same names come to mind, but one we don't think of by name was playing on darned near every hi-fi in the country 55 years ago. In 1962 Columbia Records released We Wish You a Merry Christmas, … Continue reading Christmas on the hi-fi: The Ray Conniff Singers, “Ring Christmas Bells” (1962)

Radio and Records Top 89 of ’89: AOR (December 15, 1989)

(Above: Before the Internet, it's how we looked for work.) Once upon a time, even DJs read the paper. And that paper was Radio & Records.  R&R, as we called it, was a paper that served as the journal for both the radio and the music industries.  It was where you read about program directors … Continue reading Radio and Records Top 89 of ’89: AOR (December 15, 1989)

Rest in peace, Pat DiNizio: The Smithereens, “A Girl Like You” (1989)

(Above: One of The Three LPs of early 1990.) For the last year or so it's felt like there's been an increase in the rate of death in the music world. Basic math explains a bit of this: the Baby Boom generation + time = end of life. Rock stars in their 70s and 80s … Continue reading Rest in peace, Pat DiNizio: The Smithereens, “A Girl Like You” (1989)

Happy 75th, Harry Chapin: “W*O*L*D” (1973)

(Above: There's a lot going on on this album cover.) Harry Chapin would have been 75 today. The singer-songwriter is probably best known to classic rock audiences (and classic rock DJs in need of bathroom breaks) for his epic "Taxi," which tells of a cabdriver's chance meeting with an ex-lover one evening. To pop audiences, … Continue reading Happy 75th, Harry Chapin: “W*O*L*D” (1973)

Fifty years ago this week in Grand Rapids: The WERX 15+30 Survey (December 6, 1967)

(Above: A bit of this week's chart, typos and all.) The bulk of the research done for my dissertation had to do with looking at original copies of pop surveys from the 1960s. You see these for sale on eBay and at record shows quite often for big stations like WLS and WCFL.  The ones … Continue reading Fifty years ago this week in Grand Rapids: The WERX 15+30 Survey (December 6, 1967)

50 years of magic: The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

(Above: An album cover that - I gotta admit - freaked me out a bit as a kid.) Fifty years ago this week The Beatles released the LP Magical Mystery Tour.  The LP is an interesting mish-mash, in a sense: Side One is the soundtrack of the made-for-TV film of the same name, and Side … Continue reading 50 years of magic: The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour (1967)