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!

2 thoughts on “There are premiers then there are premiers.”

  1. You may recall the song, “Shambala” It was first recorded and released by BW Stevenson, who wrote it. We added the tune at K101. The song was heard by Three Dog Night, and the band went into the studio on and recorded it with an absolutely identical arrangement– and got it into stations a couple of days later. (Talk about world premiers!) Needless to say, everyone stopped playing the original and went to the Three Dog Night version. It was a huge hit. BW Stevenson, about a year later wrote and recorded “My Maria” which was almost identical with different words– and it was a huge hit for him. Country Artists Brooks and Dunn re-recorded My Maria and it was a huge hit for them. BW was the real winner– he got royalties on all versions of both songs. Oh yeah— I still can’t understand all the lyrics for “Moody River”!

    1. I remember when My Maria was a hit , there were commercials for BW Stevenson’s album and how it included the original version of Shambala. I think his version is a bit “earthier” than Three Dog Night’s.

      I always liked Stevenson’s version of My Maria. That was a hit in the fall of my senior year in high school. I guess people tend to like songs on the radio from that time in their lives.

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