Saturday, February 05, 2011

Chicago Radio Spotlight: Mitch Rosen

This week's Chicago Radio Spotlight interview has been posted. I spoke with the program director of the Score, Mitch Rosen.

Mitch talked about his start working for Eddie Schwartz, his time at the Loop, and of course his time at the Score.

You can read it here.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Diggin' Out

This is a pretty fair effort about our recent snowstorm by Ed Smaron. Enjoy...

Coming this weekend

This weekend's Chicago Radio Spotlight will be with WSCR's (The Score) Program director Mitch Rosen. I'll post it on Saturday.

This weekend's Father Knows Nothing will be about our comedy of errors dealing with the big snow. I'll post that on Sunday.

Have a great weekend, and as Frank Zappa used to say, "Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow."

The Who

From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac this morning...
"February 4, 1966…The Who played their first show as headliners at the Astoria in Finsbury Park, England. The Fortunes and the Merseys were also on the bill."

If you went to see The Who 45 years ago, this is the kind of show you would have seen...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Day the Music Died

On this day in 1959, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash in Iowa.

It was four years before I was born, but I have since met many of the people affected by this important day in history. Bobby Vee filled in for Buddy Holly at the gig he was flying to--and became a star. We had him him on Landecker's show and he told the story.

Bob Hale was the MC of that last Buddy Holly gig, and I interviewed him a few years ago for Chicago Radio Spotlight.

And Bob Dearborn became an expert on the song about that day ("American Pie") and became a nationwide sensation with his interpretation of the song. I worked with Bob at WJMK, and got to know him well enough to ask him to write a guest blog for me on the anniversary of Buddy's death. He was gracious enough to comply...

The Day the Music Died
By Bob Dearborn

Some dates – December 7, 1941; November 22, 1963; August 16, 1977; September 11, 2001 – remain as indelible in our minds as our memory of the shocking events that took place on those dates.

We have just marked the anniversary of another stunning tragedy, one not as big as those others but an important milestone for many people of my generation and, to be sure, for me personally: 52 years ago, three popular young music stars perished on what came to be called a dozen years later, “The Day The Music Died.”

In the very early hours of February 3, 1959, a small plane chartered after a concert in Clear Lake, Iowa, crashed shortly after takeoff leaving all four on board dead: the pilot, singer Ritchie Valens (‘La Bamba,’ ‘Donna’), J.P. Richardson who performed under the name, "The Big Bopper” (‘Chantilly Lace’), and Charles Hardin Holley, known by millions of his fans the world over as Buddy Holly.

I had seen death before, close up, although the earlier experience for me was more curious than catastrophic, more surreal than sad. Oh, I liked my grandparents, all right, but I was 10 and 11 years of age when they died and I hadn't developed enough yet intellectually or emotionally to really understand or feel an impact of their passing.

Of course, two years later, I was much more mature, and starting to realize all kinds of important things. What a revelation it was to discover that music could be about more than the beat, that movies and TV shows could be more than shoot ‘em ups and car chases, that the sudden loss and finality of death could be devastatingly sad.

The first time I was really moved by the passing of someone I cared about was when Buddy Holly died – somebody I “knew” only from his music, his hit records, his appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

I couldn't have guessed it at the time that his music would have a great influence on future generations of musicians and songwriters, including the young, not-yet-famous Beatles and Rolling Stones. I just knew I liked it. From “Peggy Sue” and “That'll Be The Day” through everything that followed, I was first a fan of his music.

He changed the style of rock ‘n’ roll music by altering the chorus and verse pattern of contemporary song composition. He popularized the four-man group configuration. Buddy was the one who advised Elvis to get a drummer (to join Scotty and Bill in Elvis’ backup band). He was the first rock ‘n’ roll singer to use violins, a whole string section, on his records (‘It Doesn't Matter Anymore’). For a man who enjoyed fame for only the last year and a half of his young life, he made the most of it. Leaving his fingerprints all over contemporary music, his influence has been felt and his popularity has sustained for almost 50 years.

It was more than the music for me, however. In an era of pretty-boy teenage idols ruling the music charts, here was this young Texan who was kinda … geeky. He wore horn-rimmed glasses on his face and his emotions on his sleeve for all to see and hear – from the youthful pedal-to-the-metal exuberance of songs like “Rave On” and “Oh, Boy!” to the playful intimacy of a song like “Heartbeat.”

This guy was not only different and good, he was the first rock ‘n’ roll star that I could relate to, since I was a gawky, sensitive, geeky kid with black, horn-rimmed glasses, too! Buddy Holly’s acclaim and success confirmed that it was okay to be and look that way, that I was okay. He was MY hero. And his death was a crushing blow.

Ritchie, the Bopper and Buddy were the first popular music/rock ‘n’ roll heroes to die suddenly, shockingly at a young age. Theirs are the first names on a list that we review with heartache for its scope and length: Eddie, Johnny and Jesse … Patsy, Gentleman Jim … Sam, Otis and Frankie … Janis, Jim, Jimi, Ronnie and Duane … Jim, Rick, Karen, John, Harry … Marvin and Stevie Ray. Elvis. John.

Each time the bell has tolled, we've been stunned to learn of the loss of another hero, another artist who touched us with their music, a person we never met but who was so much a part of our lives that we viewed them as friends. And, too, with each passage, we've felt the loss of yet another important touchstone of our youth.

For me that all started with Buddy Holly. I was changed by his presence while he was alive, profoundly moved by his untimely death, always transformed by his music. And touched yet again by all of that in late 1971 when I first heard Don McLean’s brilliant composition, “American Pie.” Masterpiece is not a big enough word to describe that recording.

The song’s story begins with Buddy Holly’s death … as felt and told by one of his great fans, Don McLean. The clever metaphors of American Pie’s lyrics, then as now, leave many people confused, unable to understand what the song is about. Don and I are the same age, we lived through the same music era with similar reactions to all the changes that occurred, and we were, first and foremost, big Buddy Holly fans. I knew immediately what Don was saying in that song.

Where did all this lead? I invite you to click on the link below that'll take you to a Web site that Jeff Roteman created in tribute to my analysis of American Pie. I hope you enjoy “the rest of the story” at this site, that it helps you appreciate what a wonderful piece of work American Pie is, that it makes you want to know more about Buddy Holly and his music, and that you find the experience a fitting observation for the anniversary of “The Day The Music Died.”

Bob's Full "American Pie" analysis can be found right here.

Bob's excellent The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac can be found here.

Lou is back in baseball

He just signed a deal to be a special advisor to the San Francisco Giants.

This is a bit of a surprise to me. I thought for sure he would end up with the Yankees or the Rays.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Shoveling is finally done

I'm drinking now. After six hours of shoveling I require a painkiller.

Shoveling all day

We couldn't even open our doors this morning. It took twenty minutes just to dig out a path for the dog to take her morning constitutional, but at least we didn't lose power.

This will be an all-day job.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Eagles

35 years ago today the best selling album of all-time was released, The Eagles Greatest Hits (1971-1975). I'm sure even The Eagles didn't anticipate that their Greatest Hits album would be that huge.

This is a live version of one of my favorites from the album...

Jackson Browne wrote this for his first album, but he didn't know how to finish the song. He gave it to his friend Glenn Frey, who needed songs for his new band - the Eagles. Frey finished the song and the Eagles used it as the first song on their first album.

Take it back, Zach

The newest Milwaukee Brewer, pitching ace Zach Greinke, was in Milwaukee this week for the Brewers fan fest.

A fan threw him one of the easiest questions of all time: "Which team will win the Super Bowl?"

Zach replied: "The Steelers."

Needless to say, he was booed. Could be a long year in Milwaukee, Zach. Every Brewers fan loves the Packers even more than they love the Brewers.

E-mails, we get e-mails...

Shoveling advice from "RP," responding to my earlier post...

"You're skewing too early. The boys won't have much to do this afternoon, and the biggest job will be tomorrow morning. Then the snow will taper off quickly. The boys should be able to help tomorrow, since school will be called off.

According to Tom Skilling, the storm arrives 3-4pm. The worst won't be until overnight, when it will snow 2-3 inches per hour. O'Hare will have 19 inches on the ground by 6am, according to the average model, and 22 inches total by 6pm tomorrow night."


We're expecting up to two feet of snow in Chicago today.

I went to the grocery store yesterday and it felt like one of the Mad Max movies--the aisles were so jam-packed with people hording supplies that I literally had to bypass a few of the aisles because the traffic wouldn't allow another shopping cart.

Sorry kids, no chips this week.

So, my fellow Chicagoans. How are you planning on handling this? You can't wait for it all to fall before shoveling. I'm thinking of trying to pull it off in three shifts. The first one will be later this morning.

Then, when the boys come home they get second shift.

And then the third and nastiest shift (most of the snow is coming tonight) will fall to your humble basement blogger (just before bedtime.)

Somewhere along the way I've got to help my mom too.

Back surgery will be scheduled for next week.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Tide is High

The #1 song in the country exactly 30 years ago today...

Joke for a Monday morning

It's slightly off-color, but I found it pretty darn funny. Thanks to "MS" for contributing it...

A widowed Jewish lady, still in good shape, was sunbathing on a deserted beach in Boca Raton, Florida . She looked up and noticed that a man her age, also in good shape, had walked up, placed his blanket on the sand near hers and began reading a book. Smiling, she attempted to strike up a conversation with him. "How are you today?"

"Fine, thank you," he responded, and turned back to his book.

"I love the beach. Do you come here often?" she asked.

"First time since my wife passed away 2 years ago," he replied and turned back to his book.

"I'm sorry to hear that. My husband passed away three years ago and it is very lonely, she countered. "Do you live around here?" She asked.

"Yes, I live over in Coral Springs " he answered, and again he resumed reading.

Trying to find a topic of common interest, she persisted, "Do you like pussy cats?"

With that, the man dropped his book, came over to her blanket, tore off her swimsuit and gave her the most passionate lovemaking of her life.

When the cloud of sand began to settle, she gasped and asked the man, "How did you know that was what I wanted?"

The man replied. "How did you know my name was Katz?"

Ernie turns 80

Today is the 80th birthday of my all-time favorite Cub: Ernie Banks.

This weekend they had an 80th birthday party for him, and he took a bit of a fall.

Not to worry, he's doing just fine.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Father Knows Nothing

The latest Father Knows Nothing column has been posted at NWI Parent. This week's is called "Mom, Sean is hanging."

You can read it here.