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 did … Continue reading Christmas on the air: The songs I hated – and loved – to play

Rest in peace, Fats Domino: “Lady Madonna” (1968)

Word circulated yesterday that Antoine "Fats" Domino, regarded by many as one of the godfathers of rock and roll, passed away yesterday at the age of 89. Fats was a survivor in the literal sense of the word.  When Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, Domino remained in his 9th ward home, riding the … Continue reading Rest in peace, Fats Domino: “Lady Madonna” (1968)

Rest in peace, Jimmy Beaumont: The Skyliners, “Since I Don’t Have You” (1959)

(Above: Sheet music for "Since I Don't Have You.") Read this morning that Jimmy Beaumont passed away in Pennsylvania at the age of 76.  That might not be a name that you immediately recognize, but you more than likely have heard his work. He's also the subject of a great article/obit in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. … Continue reading Rest in peace, Jimmy Beaumont: The Skyliners, “Since I Don’t Have You” (1959)

RIP Dave Pell: “I’m an Old Cowhand” (1957)

(Above: The LP jacket for Swingin' In the Old Corral) Word filtered to me that jazz saxophonist Dave Pell passed away in May on 2017 at the age of 92. Dave Pell is not a household name, except perhaps to those who collect the "lounge" music of the 1950s. In the 1990s Capitol released a … Continue reading RIP Dave Pell: “I’m an Old Cowhand” (1957)

Re-collecting a collection: Various artists (1950s)

(Above: Carol Holmes' box of records, circa 1958) The 45s in my collection fall into three categories: a) The original records I inherited from my folks when I got my first record player at age 4.  There's maybe 30 or 40 of these. b) Records that I bought new.  There's hundreds of these. c) Records … Continue reading Re-collecting a collection: Various artists (1950s)

Graduation and the Top 40: Adrian Kimberly, “Pomp and Circumstance” (1961)

(Above: The author, 31 years ago, leaving high school.) I've been to a lot of graduation ceremonies.  From eighth grade through earning my PhD last year I've had the opportunity to participate in several.  In my role as a faculty member at GVSU I'm invited to attend them every term.  I don't go every time, … Continue reading Graduation and the Top 40: Adrian Kimberly, “Pomp and Circumstance” (1961)

Kosher for Passover: Jewish folk songs reimagined as rock and roll records

(Above: You may wish to add a few 45's to the table as well.) I grew up in a predominantly Catholic suburb of Chicago in the 1970s and 80s.  We didn't stop to ask questions about other belief systems, especially not in grade school.  The Spring Break calendar was the same every year: no classes … Continue reading Kosher for Passover: Jewish folk songs reimagined as rock and roll records

Hitting the big time: The Isley Brothers, “Shout (Parts 1 and 2)” (1959)

(Above: Rock, brother.) "Dude - you made it!" The first phone call I got on my first shift at WJMK in Chicago - 21 years ago today - was shortly after the start of the first song that I played on the station. It was from my friend Dave. Dave had been there since the … Continue reading Hitting the big time: The Isley Brothers, “Shout (Parts 1 and 2)” (1959)

RIP Chuck Berry: “Come On” (1961)

(Above: The 45 copy of Chuck Berry's "Come On," which is missing from my collection.) Within the last six months I wrote about Chuck Berry turning 90 and about Leonard Chess turning 100 (were he still with us). Both of those posts come together today in this obit. Chuck Berry died today at his home … Continue reading RIP Chuck Berry: “Come On” (1961)

Leonard Chess at 100: Jackie Brentston and his Delta Cats, “Rocket 88” (1951)

(Above: Leonard Chess, who I don't think looks like Adrien Brody.) One hundred years ago today - March 12, 1917 - Lejnor Czyz was born in Motal, which was in Poland then but is in Belarus today. I'm sure that no one in the village had any idea that he'd go on to become a … Continue reading Leonard Chess at 100: Jackie Brentston and his Delta Cats, “Rocket 88” (1951)