Saturday, September 26, 2009

Two More Cents!

Back in the early part of September, I was asked to write a review of The Beatles Stereo Remasters (Boxed Set) for The Patriot - the official campus newspaper of the University of the Cumberlands. I was glad to comply. So, just in case you absolutely have to read one more critique of the new CDs, my review is available online at "Getting Better: The Beatles Stereo Remasters." Thanks to everyone at The Patriot for publishing this review and posting it on their website!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

WCCR Fall Schedule Update

WCCR officially launched its fall schedule on September 8th. "Strictly the Sixties" is on the air twice a week - Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. until noon (EST). I'm looking forward to the new season and the opportunity to play some of the recently remastered Beatles music in both mono and stereo. The Beatles are back on top in a lot of ways; of course, every day is Beatles Day on "Strictly the Sixties." Turn on, tune in, Get Back!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What? No Tijuana Brass??

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a poll to determine America's favorite all time musical acts and the results were revealed today (August 12, 2009). The Beatles won the battle of the bands, ranking in the top four of all age groups surveyed.

The choice for number one varied by age group, with Michael Jackson topping the list for those under 30. Respondents in the 30-49 age bracket chose The Eagles as their top pick. The 50-64 year olds went with The Beatles. And those over 65 named Frank Sinatra their top choice. The overall list of Top Twenty musical acts is a mixed bag, to say the least, but the music of the 1960s seems to be exerting some influence across the generations. The Top Twenty includes:
  1. The Beatles

  2. The Eagles
  3. Johnny Cash
  4. Michael Jackson

  5. Elvis Presley

  6. The Rolling Stones

  7. Aretha Franklin
  8. Frank Sinatra

  9. Carrie Underwood

  10. Garth Brooks

  11. Jimi Hendrix

  12. Bruce Springsteen

  13. Mariah Carey
  14. Bob Dylan

  15. Jefferson Airplane
  16. Nirvana
  17. Madonna

  18. Coldplay

  19. Kanye West

  20. The Grateful Dead

Like all good lists, this one could (should) start some arguments. At best, well, at least Garth Brooks didn't outrank The Beatles.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Radio Schedule Update!

During the summer of 2009, "Strictly the Sixties" airs twice a week - Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m. (Eastern) and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Because WCCR is a campus radio station, our program schedule changes quite a bit from semester to semsester. I will update this post to let you know when "Strictly the Sixties" is on the air. Thanks for listening!

Cantaloupe Eyes, Come To Me Tonight!

In late 1967, John Fred and His Playboy Band took "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)" to the top of the Billboard charts, where it stayed for two weeks, ultimately spending thirteen weeks in the Top Forty. Although they recorded a lot of great music, "Judy" was their only Top Forty hit. Often described as a parody of The Beatles' "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds," "Judy" bears little resemblance to "Lucy" once you get past their titles.

Nevertheless, "Judy" is one of those Perfect Records from the 1960s; the quintessential Top Forty pop-rock hit. Among its many lovable qualities, "Judy" features a very cool drum introduction, a pounding piano-driven rhythm, memorable horn riffs, strings, and lyrics that still sound mildly scandalous forty years later. If you love "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)" like I do, you might enjoy this wonderful lip-sync from the Golden Age. Note the absence of a drummer, piano player, and amplifiers. Ahh, those were the days!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Cronkite!

Although he was not a musical figure in the strictest sense, CBS newsman Walter Cronkite played a significant role is shaping the political AND popular culture of the 1960s. Martin Lewis of the Huffington Post has written (and re-posted) a fascinating article about the role Cronkite played in the early days of American Beatlemania, leading up to the group's February 9, 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. "Tweet the Beatles" bears witness to the fact that Cronkite was not only the greatest television journalist since Edward R. Murrow, but also a sensitive and intelligent observer of the popular culture. Many of us know the basic story of the early British Invasion, but this is a chapter that is frequently overlooked. Thank you, Uncle Walter!

PS - Here is the CBS News Story Mr. Lewis writes about in his article. Unfortunately, there is no introduction by Mr. Cronkite, but it's a great piece of Beatle History.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Saw A Short Animated Film Today, Oh Boy . . .

As a lifelong fan of The Beatles and animated cartoons, I was particularly thrilled when a friend sent me the link for "I Met the Walrus." Directed by Josh Raskin, the film brings to life a 1969 interview with Lennon, conducted, amazingly enough, by a fourteen year old fan named Jerry Levitan. This film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2008. It lost to "Peter and the Wolf," another spectacular animated film. Nevertheless, "I Met the Walrus" might just be the best merger of Beatles mythology and animation since Yellow Submarine. Spoiler Alert: John Lennon was a genius.

Monday, June 15, 2009


This blog has no official sponsorship. But if it did, the perfect sponsor would be the Ideal Toy Company. Along with Marx and Mattel, Ideal was responsible for manufacturing some of the greatest toys of the 1960s. Unfortunately, Ideal and Marx are long gone. But thanks to YouTube, classic commercials like this one for 1961's Robot Commado live on and on! Remember, Robot Commando is here to help you!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Here Comes the (California) Sun

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, the cartoon producers who created Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and, perhaps most importantly, Jonny Quest. A little later in life, I wanted to grow up to be John Lennon. So you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this vintage TV commercial for Kellogg's Raisin Bran. The stars are Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks, who appeared on The Huckleberry Hound Show. The narrator (as always) is Don Messick, who also voices Pixie. Dixie and Mr. Jinks are voiced by the legendary Daws Butler. Hanna-Barbera were keen observers of the popular culture and The Beatles were frequently referenced in their cartoons. Here is a classic example. You gotta see this!

List-O-Mania: Psychedelic 100

As you know, the Internet is overflowing with LISTS. Many do not require a second look, but a rare few are so good they deserve a bookmark. If you are a fan of psychedelic music, you should check out Psychedelic 100. This site deals not only with psychedelic music of the 1960s, but also tracks the evolution of the psych genre through the seventies and beyond. As with all lists, there is room for argument, but this is one of the most informative and thoughtful compilations on the web. I discovered several rare gems via this site and maybe you will too. Lotsa fun!

Friday, June 12, 2009

My Favorite Martian Song

You know what I miss the most? The 45 rpm single. Those scratchy little seven-inch vinyl discs with the BIG holes in the middle. In fact, on many record players, you had to use a special plastic adaptor (seen below) to keep your 45s from sliding all over the turntable.

There was a huge monster craze in America in the early 1960s, following the release of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man and dozens of other classic horror films to television. In 1963, I was nine years old and in love with The Monsters. That same year, The Ran-Dells, a rock and roll trio from New Jersey, released a single on the Chairman label called "The Martian Hop." Fully aware of my monster-mania, my mother bought me a copy of the record. Now, I owned a few other 45s, but most of them had been purchased in plain white paper sleeves. "The Martian Hop" was different. "The Martian Hop" (seen below) came with a picture sleeve. This was a fairly rare occurrence in 1963 and the record became one of my most prized possessions.

In addition to the picture sleeve, this record had everything: soaring vocals, a great sing-along melody, space age sound effects, a sense of humor, and a great big bass drum driven beat. Not to mention that super cool picture sleeve. I played this record to death! I guess a lot of other people liked it too, because "The Martian Hop" went all the way to Number Sixteen on the Billboard singles charts in 1963. Not bad for a novelty record about a sock hop on the planet Mars.

Eventually, I began to listen to records that had nothing to do with Martians and Frankenstein, and I continued collecting 45s until the format vanished in the late 1980s. I have a cabinet full of those little seven-inch wonders, including some very rare releases and collectible picture sleeves. But none can compare with "The Martian Hop." I still think of it as my first record and my introduction to the worlds of "grown up" popular music and record collecting. Life is always better with a picture sleeve. And that's why I miss those scratchy old 45s.

Summer 2009 Air Times

During the summer of 2009, "Strictly the Sixties" airs twice a week - Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m. (Eastern) and Thursdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Because WCCR is a campus radio station, our program schedule changes quite a bit from semester to semsester. I will update this post to let you know when "Strictly the Sixties" is on the air. Thanks for listening!