Month: January 2022

There are premiers then there are premiers.

A few days ago I was listening to the ’60’s channel on Sirius/XM. They played She’s a Lady by Tom Jones. I remember the first time I heard the song in 1971 (go figure). Usually if I remember the first time I heard a song it is because I associate it with something. In the case of that recording by Mr. Jones, it is because Bob Foster, the announcer on KFRC, said it was the world premier of the song.

The world premier?

Even though I was 15, I wondered at the time why the world premier of a record by someone from the UK would have its world premier on a radio station in San Francisco. New York I could understand. Maybe Los Angeles. But San Francisco? But if Bob Foster said it, it must be true!

Ten years later I lived on the Central Coast of California. Our cable service gave us TV stations from both Los Angeles and San Francisco. One night I was watching an LA station and they ran a promo about a movie they were going to show in a week — the “World Television Premier” of the movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. That’s right, the world television premier.

Two weeks later — a week after the “World Television Premier” on the L.A. station, I was watching a San Francisco station. They had a promo for something they were going to be showing in a week — the “World Television Premier” of the movie Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. While they might not like to think so, I always thought that Los Angeles and San Francisco were on the same planet.

That got me to thinking — what is the fastest a recording made it on the air after being recorded? I don’t mean something that was done live on TV and recorded for the purpose of being released as a single such as All You Need Is Love by the Beatles.

I found two videos of the original broadcast but they both “freeze up” accidentally on purpose at the same spot.

Nor did I consider Elton John’s reworking of Candle In The Wind for Princess Dianna in this regard, as releasing it as a single was also a fait accompli.

From the original broadcast in September, 1997

Instead, I considered a case where a song was recorded in the normal course of events. What was the fastest a record made it from the studio to the radio in the shortest amount of time? The record for the shortest time it took a record (sounds redundant, doesn’t it?) to make it on the radio has to be from 1961 for one Pat Boone.

Boone went in to the studio to record a song. After he was finished, he had a few errands to run. As he drove he listened to the radio. The producers of the recording must have thought they had something great on their hands. The made a quick copy of it and rushed it over to a local radio station. Before Boone even made it home, the song — Moody River — was already on the air.

Today it would have to be approved by the consultants first

Talk about quick!

Just as a side note, in 1978 I was the first person at the station I worked at to play Stuff Like That by Quincy Jones. That wasn’t because I was some important person tasked with breaking hits; I just happened to be the person who was on the air when the record was brought into the control room.

With my help this made it all the way to #21 on the charts!

Brothers

I was the youngest of three boys. My brothers and I were always pretty close. My oldest brother Larry and I seemed to have the most in common in terms of music. I remember many of the songs that he liked over the years,

The Brothers; Steve, Larry, and me — 1958

I remember him liking a Brenda Lee song that was a hit unto itself and was also the flip side of I’m Sorry. It was a song that I found many years later, much to my surprise, was written by Jerry Reed: That’s All You Gotta Do. The reason I was surprised was because once I heard that factoid, it was so obvious that I felt I should have know it. Larry played that record so many times that I am surprised we did not hear I’m Sorry playing backwards along with that song.

This sounds like Chubby Checker when you play the 45 at 33.

Larry never wasted an opportunity to ride buses. He never realized it, but one of his dreams when he was young was to be a Greyhound bus driver. In early 1963 there was a song that I loved so much that my mother sent Larry out to buy the record for me — Puff, the Magic Dragon by Peter, Paul and Mary. Whether he had to or not, Larry spent just about the entire day taking buses all over Staten Island to find it.

Larry bravely chased around to find this record for me.

Later that year Larry bought a record for himself. I was with him one day when he played it when my Mother walked in. I don’t know why but she got really mad at him for his purchase: The Kind of Boy You Can’t Forget by the Raindrops. To this day I still have no idea what got her so mad.

This struck a nerve for some reason.

When we moved to Germany in 1964 we did not have television so music was one of our biggest forms of entertainment. We bought records like we never had before. One of the first Larry bought was Remember (Walking In The Sand) by the Shangri-las.

I feel like my brother is here when I listen to this.

Maybe the reason my brothers and I were so close is because we moved around a lot and saw a number of different things, such as our trip to Berlin in 1965.

Me, Larry, and Steve at the Berlin Wall — June, 1965

After we returned to the United States, we drove across country in June 1966. My father always had the radio on in the car and one of the songs we heard was Little Girl by the Syndicate of Sound. Larry liked it but was not sure of the name. He bought the record before we had any way to play it, not sure if it was the right one. He saw in the TV listings that the group was going to be on American Bandstand. Larry never really watched the show, but he made sure he did that week.

The original video, albeit with the sound re-dubbed.

Another song Larry liked in 1966 was Hey Joe. He did not know who it was by, but he saw it on an album so he bought it. When I saw the album cover, I was totally bewildered. I had never seen anything like it before. It was a bit much for my ten-year-old brain to comprehend.

What the fiddlesticks? Photo: Reprise Records

That was not the version he wanted. He was looking at the version by the Leaves which he found on KJR 16 All American Hits.

Back in the days of Channel 95
Original video with original (lip-synced) sound

Years went by. College, marriages, life goes on. The three of us would have a chance to get together from time to time.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil — Easter, 1983
After sitting on the front porch all night talking and watching satellites go by — May, 1995

On January 1, 2002, the three of us got together in Leavenworth, Washington. Besides being New Years Day, it was also Larry’s fifty-second birthday. Larry and Steve had their wives and the five of us had a great time.

My birthday was on a Saturday that year. To help me celebrate it, my son was going to spend the weekend with me. At about 2:30 in the morning, my son came in to tell me that my Father was on the phone.

“Your brother, Larry, is dead.” I know why he phrased it that way. My mother had been fighting cancer for over twenty years. As “mother” and “brother” sounded very similar, my father wanted to be sure I understood exactly what he was saying.

The last photo of the three brothers together — January 1, 2002

It has been twenty years since I last saw Larry. It took me years to come to grips with his passing, but I still am not used to it.