Years ago I remember listening to John Landecker’s morning show at WJMK/Chicago, and he made a comment about how he’d like his next job to be the guy who picks out old music to use in movies and television shows. The right song at the right time can evoke a pretty powerful feeling. Not only that, it can introduce new generations to great songs if the show or movie becomes popular. I’m thinking I’d kind of like that gig, too.
Every so often something comes up that you hear in the background and think “What was that?” I touched on an example in my dissertation: a few years back an old recording from a bunch of young Grand Rapids musicians turned up in a Subaru commercial where a couple went hunting for khakis instead of a campsite. The song was “In The Park” by the Ju Ju’s (apostrophe theirs). It never charted, even on local radio in Grand Rapids, but it fit the soundtrack perfectly. (And, if you clicked the link, you’re now saying “Oh, yeah….”)
In 1969 the Zombies released Odessey and Oracle, a nifty album with a cool psychedelic cover but only one hit single – the #3 “Time Of the Season,” which has been a staple of Oldies radio for years. (To be fair, the flip side of the single, “Friends of Mine,” is a fantastic record that I can’t hear enough, but it didn’t get much airplay.) If we dig deeper into that album, we find a song that’s been on TV a lot over the last few years. If you’re a fan of Mad Men, The Middle, or The Fabulous Mrs. Maisel, this tune will be familiar to you. It’s also a song that was covered by The Foo Fighters and OK Go.
“This Will Be Our Year” was not a hit by any means, but you can see how, say, starting it at 12:01 tonight could create a memory that will last a long time. It’s a perfectly pleasant song about hope and support. Over the last few weeks and months I have, through social media channels, read some pretty awful tales of what old acquaintances (remember? You’re not supposed to forget them tonight) have been going through. 2019 was rough in a lot of corners, and for many there’s a feeling of “it can’t get worse.” While I personally had a pretty decent year, there’s always hope for something even better that lies ahead, and this fits that soundtrack pretty well.
May 2020 be your year. You can hear “This Will Be Our Year” by clicking here.
On the last day of the year I’ve made it a point to thank the readers of this blog for the indulgence. 2019 saw over eleven thousand visits from 97 countries outside the United States to this set of ramblings from an old radio guy who collects records and bores college kids with tales of the glories of broadcasting long ago. I’m honored that you’ve taken the time to be a part of what goes on here.
I’ve specifically heard from several who enjoyed the 1969 chart project. I’m working on getting the 1970 charts to see if we can continue finding great songs that are turning fifty. I’ll also be making it a point to unpack some records and CDs that have been in storage since my 2017 move, so I might be sharing some new “discoveries” (read as “Hey, I forgot that I owned this!”) in the coming year.
I wish you all good health and happiness in 2020 and hope you’ll continue pulling up a chair here when you can.