Tag: Chicago the Band

Presty the DJ for Sept. 13

Today in Great Britain in the first half of the 1960s was a day for oddities.

Today in 1960, a campaign began to ban the Ray Peterson song “Tell Laura I Love Her” (previously mentioned here) on the grounds that it was likely to inspire a “glorious death cult” among teens. (The song was about a love-smitten boy who decides to enter a car race to earn money to buy a wedding ring for her girlfriend.  To sum up, that was his first and last race.)

The anti-“Tell Laura” campaign apparently was not based on improving traffic safety. We conclude this from the fact that three years later, Graham Nash of the Hollies leaned against a van door at 40 mph after a performance in Scotland to determine if the door was locked. Nash determined it wasn’t locked on the way to the pavement.

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Presty the DJ for Sept. 11

Today in 1956, London police were called to break up a crowd of teenagers after the showing of the film “Rock around the Clock” at the Trocadero Cinema.

That prompted a letter to the editor in the Sept. 12, 1956 London Times:

The hypnotic rhythm and the wild gestures have a maddening effect on a rhythm loving age group and the result of its impact is the relaxing of all self control.

The British demonstrated their lack of First Amendment by banning the film in several cities.

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Presty the DJ for Aug. 30

Today in 1959, Bertolt Brecht‘s “Threepenny Opera” reached the U.S. charts in a way Brecht …

… could not have fathomed:

T0day in 1968, Apple Records released its first single by — surprise! — the Beatles:

Today in 1969, this spent three weeks on top of the British charts, on top of six weeks on top of the U.S. charts, making them perhaps the ultimate one-number-one-hit-wonder:

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“Beautiful Chicago“ (or Chicago in an elevator)

Those who grew up in the 1970s might remember, in the relatively early days of FM radio, that some FM stations programmed a format called “beautiful music.”

Others less impressed called it “elevator music.” It was essentially orchestral instrumental arrangements of popular songs of the day. Those stations more often than not were automated, meaning that there were no live voices on the station, except possibly during news segments.

Madison was cursed — I mean Madison had — four of those stations within its market. While WISM played Top 40 at 1480 on your AM dial, WISM-FM played this, uh, music at 98.1 FM, before WISM’s owners changed the format to hot adult contemporary and the station to Magic 98. (Which still exists today and is one of Madison’s top rated radio stations. At the same approximate time, though, WISM-AM went away to become a news–talk station, which was the fate of many AM music stations.)

This format — sometimes called “Muzak” for the company that sold piped-in inoffensive music for elevators and other places — also could be found at 94.9 FM, which then had the call letters WLVE and was called “Love Stereo.” Then as now, thanks apparently to its transmitter location on the Baraboo Bluffs, 94.9 had a freakishly large signal — from the Stevens Point area clear to the Wisconsin–Illinois state line, and from the Platteville Mound to the suburbs of Milwaukee. Stations in Monroe and Fort Atkinson also played “beautiful music.”

I cannot tell you in mere words how much I hated this so-called music. My father, who remember was in southern Wisconsin’s first rock and roll band and had generally good musical taste, would force all of us to listen to this crap on occasion within our first car with an FM radio, the beloved 1975 Chevrolet Caprice.
Happily, the “beautiful music” format is almost dead. The late WLVE became WOLX, the area’s first oldies (now “classic hits”) station, as did the Monroe station. The Fort Atkinson station now plays adult contemporary.

But thanks to YouTube, the format is not in fact dead. A Chicago Facebook page came up with this:

For everyone who thinks Chicago has always only played ballads, there is something worse than ballads. Let’s do some compare-and-contrast between original and Muzaked:

,

(If for some reason the instrumental tracks don’t work, Kostelanetz’s “Make Me Smile is at 6:28, “Does Anybody Know What Time It Is” is at 9:00, “Questions 67 and 68” is at 12:00. “Beginnings” is at 17:30, and “25 or 6 to 4” is at 21:00.)

One irony is that Chicago did play instrumentals on several of its albums. Evidently Kostelanetz couldn’t figure out how to adapt “Free Form Guitar” or “Liberation” to strings. All of these songs include trumpet and trombone, and a lot of rock acts have included strings in their songs, including Chicago.

But … wow. This is painful to listen to. Imagine someone saying that “Colour My World” or “If You Leave Me Now” was too loud.

 

Presty the DJ for Aug. 20

Today in 1965, the Rolling Stones released the song that would become their first number one hit, and yet Mick Jagger still claimed …

Today in 1967, the New York Times reported on a method of reducing the noise recording devices make during recording. The inventor, Ray Dolby, had pioneered the process for studio recordings, but the Times story mentioned its potential for home use.

Ray Dolby, by the way, is no known relation to the other Dolby …

Today in 1987, Lindsey Buckingham refused to go out on tour with Fleetwood Mac for its “Tango in the Night” album, perhaps thinking that the road would make him …

The band probably told him …

… but look who came back a few years later:

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Presty the DJ for Aug. 18

How can two songs be the number one song in the country today in 1956? Do a Google search for the words “B side”:

(Those songs, by the way, were the first Elvis recorded with his fantastic backup singers, the Jordanaires.)

Today in 1962, the Beatles made their debut with their new drummer, Ringo Starr, following a two-hour rehearsal.

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Presty the DJ for Aug. 9

Today should be a national holiday. That is because this group first entered the music charts today in 1969, getting three or four chart spots lower than its title:

That was the same day the number one single predicted life 556 years in the future:

Today in 1975, the Bee Gees hit number one, even though they were just just just …

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