Sunday, July 21, 2013

Music Sunday: The Boss Radio Edition

I've been waiting until about the time I went on hiatus here to write this Music Sunday blog post.

Unless you grew up in the 1960s and early 1970s, you might not have any idea about what I want to share today and why I'm so happy about it. It could be a matter of "you had to be there" to really appreciate it. Nevertheless, I'm going to share anyway.

A few weeks ago, having nothing better to do with my time (or, at least, being bored with the things I should have been doing), I sat down to see what was on the radio. Except for one FM oldies station and the local NPR outlet, I've sort of given up on radio the past few years because the stations we have around here are pretty drab. I don't like the formats of the FM stations, or they just play music that I'm not particularly enthusiastic about, and all I can find on AM has been right-wing talk radio and sports-talk stations. So I'd just gotten to where I don't even go there anymore.

However, on this particular evening, looking on the AM dial, I discovered that my town has a station that has reinstituted the "Boss Radio" AM Top 40 format that was so popular around the time I was first getting into music in the Sixties. I say "reinstituted" because the station, KYNO, was apparently one of the first stations to adopt the format back in the day. Another of the first stations to adopt the format was KHJ in Los Angeles, the station I grew up listening to before FM radio was a thing. Sadly, the station I discovered is not really true Boss Radio because it isn't really local, but more a syndicated robo-station. But it still plays the old music, tunes you aren't likely to run into on most classic rock stations. Oh, they play the Beatles and the Stones and so forth, but they also play the songs that are, perhaps, a little too much of their time to have remained as popular as the classics.

For example, there is "Love is Blue", from 1968 and a French bandleader named Paul Mauriat. This is an instrumental that is one of my favorite pieces of music from the time. Apparently there were also versions with lyrics, but I like this, as I first heard it, just fine:

And then there's this, from 1964 - The Dave Clark Five and "Glad All Over":

It's kind of funny to me that in the comments section where I found this clip on YouTube, there's an argument over whether this kind of music, and this song in particular is good or "crap", or whether what is crap is what passes for pop music now. While I will admit that I'm more in the corner of 60s pop over some of the music that is more current, I've never really understood why people will argue over this sort of thing. I don't see music, most of the time, as bad or good, but rather in terms of whether or not I like it personally. The same thing was true back in the day, and there were arguments like this then, as well. Probably will be, as long as music exists, and while I generally tend to share the music that I like here, I'm never going to insist that everyone should like it or that people who don't like the same kind of music I like are wrong.

But, I digress.

And, anyway, music in the Sixties wasn't just mindless pop. Some songs were topical, and some were fairly controversial. There was, for example, "Love Child", by Diana Ross (although the song was billed as by Diana Ross and the Supremes, session singers rather than the other members of the group sang the background vocals). In 1968, when this song came out, it was still not considered polite to discuss the subject of children born out of wedlock, no matter which side of the argument was being aired. But, it was and is a great song:

Another song, not especially controversial in itself, although it takes on fairly gritty subject matter, but which became an anthem for US forces fighting in Vietnam, was "We Gotta Get Out of This Place", by Eric Burdon and the Animals. This live performance of the song is from the Richmond Jazz Festival in England in 1965:

But, the truth is that the Sixties were also the time of "bubblegum" pop, and one wonders how songs like this one, "Simple Simon Says", by the 1910 Fruitgum Company, ever reached the charts, much less hit #4 in the US and #2 in the UK and sold five million copies after it was released in 1967:

I guess a catchy tune will get you a long way, and I kind of think of this as the Sixties version of "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", which also has a catchy tune and pretty much no substance to it.

But, like I said, for me music comes in two flavors, music I like and music I don't like as much, and I really do like a lot of 60s pop and rock, and it is fun hearing some of these songs again. Even the ones, like "Simple Simon Says" and "Elenor", by the Turtles (who seem to have had a talent for taking just about any song and making it silly - not necessarily a criticism, but just an observation):

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