Rest in peace, Ed Buchanan: Jonathan Edwards, “Shanty” (1971)

(Above: Uncle Buck, 1949-2018) The Grand Rapids, Michigan radio dial is a quieter place today. Ed Buchanan, known to generations of radio listeners in West Michigan as "Uncle Buck," passed away this morning from an apparent heart attack. Ed had most recently been hosting a Sunday morning program on WLAV-FM called "Breakfast In the Basement," … Continue reading Rest in peace, Ed Buchanan: Jonathan Edwards, “Shanty” (1971)

A letter from camp: WLS Top Forty-Fives, June 27, 1981

(Above: The author at Student Council camp, June 1981. This does not look like camping.) "Is the baseball strike over?" That was the first question I had for my parents when I saw them on June 27, 1981.  They had come to pick me up from a week away at camp - the only such … Continue reading A letter from camp: WLS Top Forty-Fives, June 27, 1981

Congratulations to Johnny B! Johnny and the Leisure Suits, “Just Havin’ Fun” (1981)

(Above: In the early 90s, in Chicago, you had this CD. It was the law.) The Hyper Rooster is in the Hall. For the second year in a row a local Chicago radio legend has gotten the call for the Radio Hall of Fame.  Jonathon Brandmeier, who held down mornings at WLUP in Chicago through … Continue reading Congratulations to Johnny B! Johnny and the Leisure Suits, “Just Havin’ Fun” (1981)

Great lost hit: Billy and the Beaters, “I Can Take Care Of Myself” (1981)

(Above: The Rhino re-release had a picture sleeve. I don't think the original did.) Early summer of 1981 wasn't a whole lot of fun for me. I was in-between seventh and eighth grades, and - I keep threatening to write about this - junior high school was probably my least favorite time in life. Major … Continue reading Great lost hit: Billy and the Beaters, “I Can Take Care Of Myself” (1981)

Great lost hit: Fred Knoblock, “Why Not Me” (1980)

(Above: Picture sleeve from "Why Not Me.") If I asked you to name as many Top 20 hits as you could think of from the summer of 1980, I'd wager what's in my wallet that the name Fred Knoblock would have escaped you. I've been digging into the early 80s charts lately and finding some … Continue reading Great lost hit: Fred Knoblock, “Why Not Me” (1980)

RIP Matt “Guitar” Murphy: Chuck Berry, “Bye Bye Johnny” (1960)

(Above: His guitar playing was much better than his cooking.) Word circulated this weekend that Matt "Guitar" Murphy passed away at the age of 88. My first exposure to Murphy's work, like many people, was through his role as a part of the Blues Brothers band in the film of the same name. I don't … Continue reading RIP Matt “Guitar” Murphy: Chuck Berry, “Bye Bye Johnny” (1960)

Rest in peace, D.J. Fontana: Elvis Presley, “My Baby Left Me” (1956)

(Above: D.J. Fontana and the singer that he's best associated with.) Word spread this morning that Dominic Joseph Fontana passed away peacefully last night at the age of 87.  There is no question that you have heard him play the drums. D. J. Fontana was recruited to accompany Elvis Presley along with Scotty Moore and … Continue reading Rest in peace, D.J. Fontana: Elvis Presley, “My Baby Left Me” (1956)

A summer vacation soundtrack: The Billboard Hot 100, June 9, 1984

(Above: The end of sophomore year. Someone please get this kid a haircut.) The first full week of June 1984 would have meant the start of summer vacation. I had just completed my sophomore year at Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park. The bulk of my daytime activity that summer involved something that … Continue reading A summer vacation soundtrack: The Billboard Hot 100, June 9, 1984