Tuesday, September 26, 2017

FM Rock: January 1969

1969 kicks off with a couple of milestones. In radio, the progressive freeform underground format gets it first 24 hour AM station with WHMC serving the Washington, D.C. area, though other AM stations had been broadcasting rock in limited blocks, usually an hour or two around midnight. WHMC, billing itself as "Radio Free Washington" was short lived however, perhaps because a big draw for the format was that it highlighted the burgeoning acceptance of stereo as the preferred way to listen to the new rock music and AM just wasn't there yet.

The more important milestone, however, was on the music front as January '69 saw the introduction of Led Zeppelin to underground airwaves. The record labels had become increasingly hip to underground airplay equaling LP sales and Atlantic had furnished many progressive stations with a white label acetate of the debut Led Zeppelin album a good month before it's actual release in stores. Because it got such heavy airplay before its release, it outsold Cream's new album, released at the same time, in many markets. Led Zeppelin would continue to shake up the rock scene, both musically and marketing wise, for years to come. Another artist that would become one of the biggest superstars of the 70's saw his first airplay on many stations in January as well - Elton John with his "Lady Samantha" single, though it would still be a year before he truly had his breakthrough. The Beatles were in full force with the White Album still topping the charts and a new soundtrack album with a clutch of some more new songs and if that wasn't enough, John and George had solo albums going too (which were very underground indeed). Many songs in this month's mix have stayed classic rock staples: The Zombies' "Time Of The Season", Bob Seger System's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man", and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" in particular. This mix also contains a couple of fantastic covers that really deserved to stay on classic rock radio; Tiny Tim's dynamite take on the Jerry Lee Lewis classic "Great Balls Of Fire" and Dion's brilliant reworking of Hendrix's "Purple Haze" - these two songs may seem on the surface to be a bit kitschy or have an air of novelty about them, but really, they hold up so well still to this day - at least I never get tired of hearing them! All in all, a great kick off to a watershed year in rock and one that starts to show solid signs of how the 70's would start to shape up.

  • 1Good Times, Bad Times by Led Zeppelin
  • 2Ramblin' Gamblin' Man by Bob Seger System
  • 3Mendocino by Sir Douglas Quintet
  • 4Proud Mary by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • 5Wade In The Water by Harvey Mandel
  • 6All The Same by Spirit
  • 7Bad Night At The Whiskey by The Byrds
  • 8Wild Child by The Doors
  • 9Hot Smoke & Sassafras by Bubble Puppy
  • 10Time Of The Season by The Zombies
  • 11Purple Haze by Dion
  • 12...And The Gods Made Love/Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland) by The Jimi Jendrix Experience
  • 13Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie (1st & 2nd Movements) by Blood, Sweat & Tears
  • 14Sabre Dance by Love Sculpture
  • 15Termination by Iron Butterfly
  • 16Soap And Turkey by Stained Glass
  • 17You Can All Join In by Traffic
  • 18I Will Serenade You by Rhinoceros
  • 19Can You Travel In The Dark Alone by Gandalf
  • 20Madame George by Van Morrison
  • 21The Anecdote Of Horatio & Julie by David Stoughton
  • 22Susie's Gone by Afterglow
  • 23Happiness Is A Warm Gun by The Beatles
  • 24It's All Too Much by The Beatles
  • 25To Claudia On Thursday by The Millennium
  • 26To Susan On The West Coast Waiting by Donovan
  • 27Lady Samantha by Elton John
  • 28We Are The Good Rats/Joey Ferrari by The Good Rats
  • 29Great Balls Of Fire by Tiny Tim
  • 30Dear Doctor by The Rolling Stones
  • 31You Don't Miss Your Water ('Till Your Well Runs Dry) by Taj Mahal
  • 32I Shall Be Released by The Band
  • 33(Bach) Orchestral Suite #3 in D by Wendy Carlos

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