Tuesday, August 1, 2017
FM Rock: June 1968
Progressive rock radio may still be called "underground" at this point in time, but it is still continuing to grow in leaps and bounds with maybe a minor setback here and there. The San Francisco station, KMPX-FM, which pioneered this whole new format back in August of '67, had become incredibly successful and the suit and tie owners of the station made the capitalist decision to squeeze as much money out of this new format as they could. They started laying down rules (uh-oh), forcing the DJ's to play more commercials (meaning more revenue) and laid down stricter guidelines about what the disc jockeys could and couldn't do on air, because the sponsors' money was now the bottom line. The mastermind of the underground format, Tom Donahue along with he majority of the on-air staff, and even some other off-air employees at KMPX who had come to be proud of their creation, decided enough was enough and walked off the job and into the lobby of classical station KSFR. Donahue negotiated with KSFR's management to reshape the station into what became the legendary KSAN-FM, taking the progressive rock format to an even higher level than before. Almost instantly after this, another San Francisco station, KOIT-FM decided it wanted in on the fun too and switched to 24 hour progressive rock programming giving San Francisco listeners three stations to choose from!
To celebrate and commemorate San Francisco's good radio fortune, I'm opening the June 1968 set with two of SF's great bands and selections from their debut albums, both of which were also released in June of '68: Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Steve Miller Band. Elsewhere in the mix you'll hear the first rock arrangement of the old Leadbelly song "Black Betty" which Ram Jam famously made into a hit in 1977, but Manfred Mann gave it a rock setting first and changed it to "Big Betty", probably to avoid controversy. You'll also hear the original version of "Indian Reservation" by Don Fardon which the Raiders turned into a major pop hit several years later. There are plenty of other classics and obscurities in this month's mix as well.... all designed for your listening enjoyment!