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, 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)

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, 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)

Rest in peace, Peter Tork: The Monkees, “Words” (1968)

Peter Tork, best known for his work in the Monkees, has passed away at the age of 77. Tork had been diagnosed with cancer about ten years ago, and had beaten it for a long time, but succumbed to the disease yesterday. I'm reluctant to say "ex-Monkee Peter Tork" in a piece like this. For … Continue reading Rest in peace, Peter Tork: The Monkees, “Words” (1968)

Rest in peace, Michel Legrand: Noel Harrison, “The Windmills Of Your Mind” (1968)

Michel Legrand passed away in Paris yesterday at the age of 86. Here's where it's tempting to say "Where do I know that name from?" It could be from the three Oscars that he one: one for Yentl, one for Summer of '42, and one for The Thomas Crown Affair (the subject of this post). … Continue reading Rest in peace, Michel Legrand: Noel Harrison, “The Windmills Of Your Mind” (1968)

Fifty years ago in GR: WGRD’s Hot 30 in the Furniture City, January 8, 1969

(Above: The good folks at Woolworth's shouldn't have stamped across Mr. Merchant's picture like that....) January 8, 1969 was a Wednesday. In Chicago, Robert Sylvester Kelly was born; he would go on to have a starried if not controversial career as an R&B singer without his middle name and only an initial. In Miami, New … Continue reading Fifty years ago in GR: WGRD’s Hot 30 in the Furniture City, January 8, 1969

Elvis comes back: “If I Can Dream” (1968)

The most-watched television show of the 1968-1969 television season aired fifty years ago tonight. Singer Presents... Elvis was assembled from performance footage that had been taped earlier that summer, edited down to a 50-minute special, and aired on NBC. It gathered 42 per cent of the television audience on December 3, 1968. Perhaps more importantly, … Continue reading Elvis comes back: “If I Can Dream” (1968)

Fifty years ago today: WGRD’s Hot 30 In the Furniture City, November 14, 1968

(Above: The late Wayne Thomas - GR's Ron Britain, right down to singing the weather forecast.) Fifty years ago the country was preparing for a change in government - Richard Nixon had just been elected the 37th President of the United States. In Southern Illinois a couple that was married five months ago was preparing … Continue reading Fifty years ago today: WGRD’s Hot 30 In the Furniture City, November 14, 1968

Greatest misses: Barbara Acklin, “Am I The Same Girl?” (1969)

(Above: Hidden in this album is a great song.) Sometimes, what may be the best version of a song is the one that finishes in third place. 1n 1968 session musicians at Brunswick Records went into the studio and laid down a jam. That track was released by Brunswick and first hit the Billboard Hot … Continue reading Greatest misses: Barbara Acklin, “Am I The Same Girl?” (1969)