Wolfman Jack Turns 75, National DJ Day & Half-Price Books!

New York’s “Cousin Brucie” began his pre-1960 radio career at ZBM/Bermuda. It was an eye-opener for both of them.

Before Ron Riley became everyone’s fave DJ at WLS/Chicago, he suffered through stints as “Polka Ron” (WKRS/Waukeegan) and “Smiley Riley” (WAPL/Appleton). Oh, we were so sappy back then.

Frosty's Swing Club 1950s (DJ Frosty Mitchell-Iowa)

DJ Frosty Mitchell’s 1950s Swing Club on Iowa TV.

But we had fun! Join us in hilarious reverie with Blast from Your Past! Rock & Roll Radio DJs: the First Five Years 1954-1959 in an enhanced and expanded ebook edition (Amazon), and half price signed print books from the Blast from Your Past website. Let’s turn back the clock and revel in behind-the-microphone stories of fifteen early Rock & Roll Radio DJs!

In 1954 newbie television’s vice-grip tightened on radio’s audiences, stole its shows, and introduced color. But a fresh attitude bubbled under radio’s airwaves. Then it happened – the unmistakable beat burst its bubble and Rock & Roll rescued Radio!

Fifty-nine years later we not only celebrate National Disc Jockey Day* on January 20th, but the very next day we get to reminisce about the antics and airchecks of Wolfman Jack, the consummate Rock & Roll DJ, as we commemorate what would have been his 75th birthday! (January 21st)

Who did you listen to besides Wolfman Jack, Ron, and Cousin Brucie? Check out BFYP’s “Book 1” Table of Contents – you’ll likely see at least one other name you’ll recognize. And if not, I guarantee you’ll still enjoy the trip down Memory Lane as we review the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a revolutionary five years in music history. Take a peek!

Let’s explore a little DJ history … National DJ Day as explained by Days of the Year is a celebration of all “entertainment” disc jockeys, focusing on those who make a living in dance events. But it’s important to note that the popularity of DJs rose with Rock & Roll Radio and the 1950s-‘60s trend of Radio DJs hosting sock hops.

DJ Ken Chase aka Mike Korgan early 1950s

DJ Ken Chase aka Mike Korgan-1950s

So our celebration focuses on ALL disc jockeys with a special interest in Radio.* They’re the ones who first became exciting, real people to their listeners, rather than disembodied, often forgettable voices in a box, announcing the latest news and farm reports.

Alan Freed and Rock & Roll were made for each other. They brought excitement to radio again, after the “boob tube” (TV) threatened to banish it into obscurity. Alan was instrumental in promoting the new, wild, upstart music.

Sliding over to WABC/New York from Cleveland in 1954, Alan brought his “Black music” records along. With a larger audience and a personal style that spoke intimately to his listeners, Alan was a hit.

While Rock & Roll was conceived a few years earlier, you could say it was “born,” as Alan slammed a fist on his trademark phone book and shouted “Let’s Rock & Roll!”

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (as we old’uns used to say), or rather his Manhattan borough, was a young whipper-snapper named Bob, eagerly listening to Alan’s every word. He vowed to be part of that life … little did he know how big a part he would play, destined to help shape the radio industry.

Wolfman Jack is largely credited with the first radio show syndication while at XERB/XERF in the late 1960s. He recorded his shows in his comfy Hollywood studio and sent the tapes south of the border to Mexico, where they were broadcast on a 250,000-watt “border blaster.” On a good night his soft growl traveled the airwaves for thousands of miles.

Radio DJ Jim Higgs with Wolfman Jack circa 1972

Radio DJ Jim Higgs w/Wolfman Jack-1972

Crossing the Blues with Rock & Roll, Wolfman Jack played his own version of music to create a sound that rocked your soul … 1966, twisting the knob on your car radio past “Wild Thing” by the Troggs, you catch the strains of a piano instrumental (“Sweet Sixteen Bars” by Ray Charles), and a soft, silky-smooth voice rumbling over it …

“Yeah! Oh, I tell ya, this one gonna blow the caps right off your knees! This is Wolfman Jack, skinny-dippin’ in the oil of joy down here on XERB, the tower of flower power. … We gonna rock your soul with a steady roll and pay our dues with the BLUES!”
(From Wolfman Jack’s Have Mercy! Confessions of the Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal.)

While most disc jockeys of the era are well-known in their regional areas, only a handful of names are recognized, spanning the country. Alan Freed and Wolfman Jack didn’t need the Internet to spread their fame. It just came natural. But there are many other DJs coast-to-coast who brought joy to their listeners – wouldn’t you like to know some of them, too? Enjoy the moment … again.

Do you have a Wolfman Jack, Alan Freed, or other personal DJ story to tell? Send it to me – or leave a comment here – and I’ll begin posting them on the website (with or without your real name and a link – your choice). Let’s celebrate the rest of this month with our favorite Rock & Roll Radio disc jockey memories!

Rock On, dudes and dudettes!

Rock On! LinDee

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

* Look for an announcement on the website, Facebook, and Twitter, Monday (January 21st) regarding a whole new way to celebrate. More fun!

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

New York’s “Cousin Brucie” began his pre-1960 radio career at ZBM/Bermuda. It was an eye-opener for both of them.

 

Before Ron Riley became everyone’s fave DJ at WLS/Chicago, he suffered through stints as “Polka Ron” (WKRS/Waukeegan) and “Smiley Riley” (WAPL/Appleton). Oh, we were so sappy back then.

 

But we had fun! Join us in hilarious reverie with Blast from Your Past! Rock & Roll Radio DJs: the First Five Years 1954-1959 as we turn back the clock and revel in behind-the-microphone stories of fifteen early Rock & Roll Radio DJs, in an enhanced and expanded ebook edition (Amazon), and half price signed print books from the Blast from Your Past website.

 

In 1954 newbie television’s vice-grip tightened on radio’s audiences, stole its shows, and introduced color. But a fresh attitude bubbled under radio’s airwaves. Then it happened – the unmistakable beat burst its bubble and Rock & Roll rescued Radio!

 

Fifty-nine years later we not only celebrate National Disc Jockey Day* on January 20th, but the very next day we get to reminisce about the antics and airchecks of Wolfman Jack, the consummate Rock & Roll DJ, as we commemorate what would have been his 75th birthday! (January 21st)

 

Who did you listen to besides Wolfman Jack, Ron, and Cousin Brucie? Check out BFYP’s “Book 1” Table of Contents – you’ll likely see at least one other name you’ll recognize. And if not, I guarantee you’ll still enjoy the trip down Memory Lane as we review the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a revolutionary five years in music history. Take a peek!

 

Let’s explore a little DJ history …

 

National DJ Day as explained by Days of the Year is a celebration of all “entertainment” disc jockeys, focusing on those who make a living in dance events. But it’s important to note that the popularity of DJs rose with Rock & Roll Radio and the 1950s-‘60s trend of Radio DJs hosting sock hops.

 

So our celebration focuses on ALL disc jockeys with a special interest in Radio.* They’re the ones who first became exciting, real people to their listeners, rather than disembodied, often forgettable voices in a box, announcing the latest news and farm reports.

 

Alan Freed and Rock & Roll were made for each other. They brought excitement to radio again, after the “boob tube” (TV) threatened to banish it into obscurity. Alan was instrumental in promoting the new, wild, upstart music.

 

Sliding over to WABC/New York from Cleveland in 1954, Alan brought his “Black music” records along. With a larger audience and a personal style that spoke intimately to his listeners, Alan was a hit.

 

While Rock & Roll was conceived a few years earlier, you could say it was “born,” as Alan slammed a fist on his trademark phone book and shouted “Let’s Rock & Roll!”

 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (as we old’uns used to say), or rather his Manhattan borough, was a young whipper-snapper named Bob, eagerly listening to Alan’s every word. He vowed to be part of that life … little did he know how big a part he would play, destined to help shape the radio industry.

 

Wolfman Jack is largely credited with the first radio show syndication while at XERB/XERF in the late 1960s. He recorded his shows in his comfy Hollywood studio and sent the tapes south of the border to Mexico, where they were broadcast on a 250,000-watt “border blaster.” On a good night his soft growl traveled the airwaves for thousands of miles.

 

Wolfman Jack played his own version of music, crossing the Blues with Rock & Roll to create a sound that rocked your soul … 1966, twisting the knob on your car radio past “Wild Thing” by the Troggs, you catch the strains of a piano instrumental (“Sweet Sixteen Bars” by Ray Charles), and a silky-smooth voice rumbling over it …

 

“Yeah! Oh, I tell ya, this one gonna blow the caps right off your knees! This is Wolfman Jack, skinny-dippin’ in the oil of joy down here on XERB, the tower of flower power. … We gonna rock your soul with a steady roll and pay our dues with the BLUES!”

(From Wolfman Jack’s Have Mercy! Confessions of the Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal.)

 

While most disc jockeys of the era are well-known in their regional areas, only a handful of names are recognized, spanning the country. Alan Freed and Wolfman Jack didn’t need the Internet to spread their fame. It just came natural. But there are many other DJs coast-to-coast who brought joy to their listeners – wouldn’t you like to know some of them, too? Enjoy the moment … again.

 

Do you have a Wolfman Jack, Alan Freed, or other personal DJ story to tell? Send it to me and I’ll begin posting them on the website (without or without your real name and a link – your choice). Let’s celebrate the rest of this month with our favorite Rock & Roll Radio disc jockey memories!

 

Rock On, dudes and dudettes!

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s