So long, 2020: Sending off a troublesome year in song

2020 has been one for the books, hasn't it? It seems like a lifetime ago that we were all gathering, making our plans for New Year's Eve, organizing parties and such. This year looks very different. Or does it? The last several years we've spent NYE at home in relative quiet. It's different when it … Continue reading So long, 2020: Sending off a troublesome year in song

Good morning Joliet: WLLI-FM, February 7, 1992

(Above: Yours truly in the I-Rock studio, 1991) 25 years ago this morning the buzz in the sports world was Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen both starting in the NBA All-Star game.  It was a Friday, so many were beginning to make their weekend plans.  And in Joliet, a 22-year-old kid was having the time … Continue reading Good morning Joliet: WLLI-FM, February 7, 1992

Tinkering with tape: Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (1973)

(Above: 1970s technology - turning kids into radio stars all over the world) November 25, 1976 was Thanksgiving Day. As we almost always did, we went over the canal and around the forest preserve to get to my grandparents' house on the South Side of Chicago. Our ritual for the holiday was not unlike what … Continue reading Tinkering with tape: Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (1973)

Lost local hits: Cornerstone, “Holly Go Softly” (1970)

Above: The Top 10 on WLAV/Grand Rapids, MI, 2/20/1970. You wouldn't likely predict that a song about a young man trading sex for money would have been a big hit in the conservative burg of Grand Rapids, Michigan in early 1970. But that's exactly what happened when "Holly Go Softly" by the band Cornerstone made … Continue reading Lost local hits: Cornerstone, “Holly Go Softly” (1970)

Election day special: John Records Landecker, “Press My Conference” (1974)

(Above: JRL in what is described as a "pensive promo shot.") I've been tremendously lucky to have worked with some of the most talented people ever to grace a radio station.  I've joked with students that in some ways I was a sort of Forrest Gump of radio, being in the right place at the … Continue reading Election day special: John Records Landecker, “Press My Conference” (1974)

Imitation and flattery: The college radio show intro (1987 – 1988)

This piece is a little different today as it doesn't highlight a specific song, but will talk about a number of songs that all served the same purpose: starting my college radio shows. There's not much that people in radio don't rip off.  If you've moved around the country, you've no doubt noticed the preponderance … Continue reading Imitation and flattery: The college radio show intro (1987 – 1988)

Rest in peace, Herb Kent: The Kool Gents, “I Just Can’t Help Myself” (1956)

Radio lost a true legend on October 22 when Herbert Kent passed away at the age of 88.  Herb was known to generations of radio listeners in and around Chicago as "The Cool Gent." His night show on WVON was rated second only to WLS in its powerhouse AM days in the 1960s. It's hard … Continue reading Rest in peace, Herb Kent: The Kool Gents, “I Just Can’t Help Myself” (1956)

Support your local rock, Michigan edition: The Unrelated Segments, “Where You Gonna Go?” (1967)

One of the things I've most enjoyed about delving into music history and local charts is finding regional hits. If you stick to the Billboard Top 10 or even Top 20, you are missing out on a lot of great music. A bit of context is necessary.  Once upon a time, kids, radio stations enjoyed … Continue reading Support your local rock, Michigan edition: The Unrelated Segments, “Where You Gonna Go?” (1967)

Great lost hit: David and David, “Welcome To the Boomtown” (1986)

In the summer of 1986 David Baerwald and David Ricketts paired up to record a series of stories set to music.  At least that's how I describe the songs on Boomtown, an album that managed to get to number 39 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart despite little support on the singles chart. It's … Continue reading Great lost hit: David and David, “Welcome To the Boomtown” (1986)