Snow’s coming: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, “Stranded” (1980)

(Above: Mayday, this is Echo Hotel.) The first winter storm warning of the season is upon us for 2018. Unfortunately, it's hitting a good portion of the plains and upper Midwest on the busiest travel day of the year: the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Each year more travelers fly on this day more than other, and … Continue reading Snow’s coming: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, “Stranded” (1980)

Ten Albums: The Who, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (1971)

Ordinarily. I wouldn't allow a Greatest Hits compilation on a list like this. This isn't an ordinary LP, though, nor is the story of how it got here. #5. The Who - Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (1971) There were several groups that I'd call myself "late to the party" in discovering. Led Zeppelin was … Continue reading Ten Albums: The Who, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (1971)

Ten Albums: Too Much Joy, Cereal Killers (1991)

(Above: You don't have this one?) There's been this thing going around on Facebook where people are posting up their ten favorite albums, or ten albums that meant something to them, or so on. You've probably seen this: you get tagged, you make the post, you tag someone else. I got tagged in one last … Continue reading Ten Albums: Too Much Joy, Cereal Killers (1991)

A letter from camp: WLS Top Forty-Fives, June 27, 1981

(Above: The author at Student Council camp, June 1981. This does not look like camping.) "Is the baseball strike over?" That was the first question I had for my parents when I saw them on June 27, 1981.  They had come to pick me up from a week away at camp - the only such … Continue reading A letter from camp: WLS Top Forty-Fives, June 27, 1981

Radio and Records Top 89 of ’89: AOR (December 15, 1989)

(Above: Before the Internet, it's how we looked for work.) Once upon a time, even DJs read the paper, and that paper was Radio & Records.  R&R, as we called it, was a paper that served as the journal for both the radio and the music industries.  It was where you read about program directors … Continue reading Radio and Records Top 89 of ’89: AOR (December 15, 1989)

Rest in peace, Malcolm Young: AC/DC, “Rocker” (1976)

(Above: Hey, I think I know those guys.) Word spread over the weekend that Malcolm Young, one of the co-founders of Australian rock mainstay AC/DC, lost his battle with dementia at the age of only 64. It was just a few weeks ago that I wrote about the passing of Malcolm's older brother George Young … Continue reading Rest in peace, Malcolm Young: AC/DC, “Rocker” (1976)

Songs of sock hops: The Billboard Hot 100: October 6, 1984

(Above: This sort of rain calls for a forecast of drama and commitment.) Another weekend, another opportunity to catch the VJ Big 40 Countdown on Sirius XM's 80s on 8 Channel.  This weekend they chose to go back to 1984 - my junior year of high school. It would have been right around Homecoming time … Continue reading Songs of sock hops: The Billboard Hot 100: October 6, 1984

Soundtrack for the first day of school (Various)

(Above: First day of school, 1974.) Today is the first day of school for Grand Valley State University (and for many other colleges, high schools, grade schools, etc.) Many schools have started already: you've no doubt noticed your time line filling up with pictures of kids heading off for school as relieved parents plan to … Continue reading Soundtrack for the first day of school (Various)

A frustrated rocker: The Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, August 5, 1989

(Above: Me in my WJTW shirt in the production room of WCFL/Morris, 1990.  I do not know why I am wearing it there.) In the summer of 1989 I was just starting to get my legs under me in terms of my radio career. The station I worked for in Joliet, Illinois, WJTW, gave me … Continue reading A frustrated rocker: The Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, August 5, 1989

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)