Rest in peace, Vera Lynn: “We’ll Meet Again” (1939)

  "Does anybody here remember Vera Lynn?" That line, in Pink Floyd's "Vera," was my introduction to the existence of Vera Lynn. At the age of 11, with a fresh copy of The Wall in hand, I didn't necessarily understand all of the references (or all of the material, for that matter) contained in it. … Continue reading Rest in peace, Vera Lynn: “We’ll Meet Again” (1939)

On a mission from God: Solomon Burke, “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” (1964)

Forty years ago today - June 16, 1980 - The Blues Brothers made its film premiere. It was the first R-rated film I ever saw. In an age just in line with the advent of home video recorders and the infiltration of cable TV, it just wasn't as easy to see an "under 17 not … Continue reading On a mission from God: Solomon Burke, “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” (1964)

The more things change: Spanky and Our Gang, “Give A Damn” (1968)

(Above: Demonstration in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1967. Photo credit: WOOD-TV) (Above: Demonstration in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2020. Photo credit: John Rothwell) I missed being alive in 1968 by about a year or so. That's not to say that I haven't studied it extensively. One doesn't teach media history to college students and not spend time … Continue reading The more things change: Spanky and Our Gang, “Give A Damn” (1968)

Rest in peace, Millie Small: “My Boy Lollipop” (1964)

(Millie poses with her LP. Credit: Getty Images) Millie Small, known as the "Blue Beat Girl," passed away on May 5 at the age of 73 due to complications from a stroke. A native of Jamaica, Small had been living in England since 1973. Small was first discovered in a talent contest in Jamaica at … Continue reading Rest in peace, Millie Small: “My Boy Lollipop” (1964)

Rest in peace, Pops Chambers: The Chambers Brothers, “Time Has Come Today” (1968)

Word circulated this morning that George "Pops" Chambers has passed away at the age of 88. The Chambers Brothers - Lester, Joe, Willie, and George - started performing in the late 1950s. They found their niche with "psychedelic soul," putting a rock spin on soul classics like Otis Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose" and … Continue reading Rest in peace, Pops Chambers: The Chambers Brothers, “Time Has Come Today” (1968)

Rest in peace, Vinnie Bell: Ferrante and Teicher, “Midnight Cowboy” (1969)

Word circulated that Vincent "Vinnie" Bell passed away on October 3 at the age of 84. Bell's is not a name you would immediately recognize if you're looking for it on record labels. That is, of course, unless you happened to pick up a copy of "Airport Love Theme" in 1970, which lists him as … Continue reading Rest in peace, Vinnie Bell: Ferrante and Teicher, “Midnight Cowboy” (1969)

Who Did It First? The Easybeats, “Good Times” (1968)

(Above: Add this to your list of all-time "side one, track ones.") Very early in my college radio career - like on my first show - I had a habit of keeping some songs close by so as to sneak them in if time allowed. They fell under "personal preference;" the show was mostly for … Continue reading Who Did It First? The Easybeats, “Good Times” (1968)

Rest in peace, Roky Erickson: The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, “You’re Gonna Miss Me” (1966)

Word circulated late Friday night that Roky Erickson, founding member of the Austin, Texas-based psychedelic band The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, passed away at the age of 71. Erickson started the band in high school in Austin in 1965. He dropped out a month before graduation in an argument over the school's dress code regarding hair. … Continue reading Rest in peace, Roky Erickson: The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, “You’re Gonna Miss Me” (1966)

Rest in peace, Charles Barksdale: The Dells, “There Is” (1968)

Word circulates this morning that Charles Barksdale, the bass voice for R&B group The Dells, passed away at the age of 84. The Dells hailed from Harvey, Illinois, in the south suburbs of Chicago. (If the town of Harvey sounds familiar to you, it's because it was, for many years, the home of the Dixie … Continue reading Rest in peace, Charles Barksdale: The Dells, “There Is” (1968)