Controversy? In the world of Oldies? Who'da thunk it?

MARCH 2010
As you know, what is here is my personal collection. I updated it. I do this by setting the YouTube search engine for "this month" using the name of the artist as the search index. ONe such is Ben E. King. I am after the original version of SPANISH HARLEM as it was released about 49 years ago. When I set up and fired the search, I got at least 25 STAND BY ME's. Now, that's a great song and one of my faves but awright awready! If you do a YouTube search on Ben E. King, you'll get a jillion STAND BY ME's and about 5 or 6 SPANISH HARLEM's and a couple of odds and ends, mostly SUPERNATURAL, which I don't even remember charting. Wuzzup with that ?! SPANISH HARLEM was a big hit, not as bigh as STAND BY ME but then, what was? So why no original version? This is an example of "analog generational decay": Over time, parts of the original get lost. NOw STAND BY ME was a huge hit, SPENISH HARLEM and DON'T PLAY THAT SONG FOR ME were also pretty big, IN fairness I found a flv of DON'T PLAY THAT SONG FOR ME, but SPANISH HARLEM was bigger, ye not an original is to be had.

Here's the deal. A popular muusic generation is about 5 to 7 years; they got longer in the 1970's as baby boomers hit their early and middle 20's and became less frenetic. although disco lasted about 4 but that was a hideous fad that should have ended in 2. The net resutl it that you've had about 7 henerations since King was at the top. Over the years only the highlights of the past are recalled. STNAD BY ME and PRETTY WOMAN became movie titles ans were used so they were recyled and brough mild interest in their performers. However these highlights don't tell the whole story. Movies like American Graffiti and Diry Dancing have as part of their soundtracks much of the music from the timeframe so you get another look. This too does not tell the whole story. I still have to find a decent copy of Ray Charles' WHAT'D i SAY and HIT THE ROAD; JACK, or Peter, Paul and Mary's IF I HAD A HAMMER, PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON and BLOWIN' IN THE WIND. Yet, I go FELICIA, POOR LITTLE PUPPET, AL CAPONE and a barely acceptable I'M GONNA FORGET YOU. If you don't know them, that should tell you something. These are obscure pieces that somebody cared enogh about to put them up and I care enough about the whole thing to save and collect them. So you can find the Obscure SANDY's, LOVE YOU SO's and DRIBBLE TWIST's but you can't fine a real SPANISH HARLEM: Go figure.


This project started because I was starved for the music of the late 1958-63 time period and decided to share it with persons as part of the culture in which Space Patrol existed. Now I'm pretty cuaght up and can get as much of it as I want when I want. Next came the TIMELSS 25 and DOO WOP CLASSICS, a look at the antecedent material and the start of the careers of may of the greats of the focus era. Many of them continued on with Brenda Lee scoring with JOHNNY ONE-TIME in the 1970's and Roy Orbison doing well wiht YOU GOT IT in 1988 before he died. I have therefore decided to include POSTCRIPT 25. a sort of epilog or "outro" to the music of the Satellite Era

Way'ell Ah'll be gol-danged! and we called it "shit-kicker music". The satellite era was crawling with it. Conway Twitty was a country artist. Elvis' roots were in it, Brenda Lee transited easily between rock and roll and country. The Everly Brothers had a country sound. We had rock hits by Stonewall Jackson and WWeb Pierce. Who knew? I knew. I was raised by an uncle who dug that bigtime. When I was three in 1949 he'd have the radio tuned to stateions in North Carolina and Viginia that we could just about get Born in 1910 of Azorean immigrant parents, Uncle Johnny was no square (although a bit backward; Hopalong Cassidy was his big thing while I was Space Patrol all the way but the Space Patrol helmet under the 1952 Christmas tree showed that he was hip to the modern world as did the unfinished model WWII fighter that wes in the attic). Along with digging wheels, from 1960 to '63 he drove school bus on the side and had the radio set to the same station that was my main source of tunes: WPRO 630 AM Providence Rhode Island. Country & Western was the hi-tech music of it's time. Much of early rock'n'roll, like SPUTNIK is called Rockabilly. In the 1950's Tennesee Ernie Ford was Mainstream and Sixteen Tons was off the charts big. Your Hit Parade routinely featured country hits throughout the '50's. If you listen to modern country. It has the flavor of mid-60's and other forms of rock. Hell, Mary Chapin Carpenter hung out at the Twist and Shot and Pam Tillis' CLEOPATRA; QUEEN OF DENIAL from the late 1990's was lyrically au curant. Who can forget Johnny Cash?

Not only that but, despite the big to-do about how backwards folk was prior to Bob Dylan., We had a healthy dose of that, too. Leading the pack were the Kingston Trio, Starting with TOOM DOOLEY, they would score big on the charts. and then there was WALK RIGHT IN by the Rooftop singers.Actually "fold" wasn't as "folk" as you thing. It came from two sources traveilling musicians of the latter half of the 1800's and professional musical writers of the same time who fanned out across the US to write about what they saw. All of which was part of the Jazz movement also from which came blues; almost a religion in rock, and Dixiland, which also hit big a couple of times in the Satellite Era. The hootenanny was very much a Satellite Era thing.

It was this blend of musical types, feeding into a main pop form that made the Satellite Era music as expansive as the lofty ideasls of freedom and human worth and the equally lofty goals of space travel and repid ground travel, as well as the other American Utopianisms from the 50's and early 60's.

APRIL 2008

Another thing that frosts my frannistan is the "mixed format". There are two in particular "TrueOldies by ABC and The Music of Your LIfe. This is also part and parcel of the FM "Oldies" which I discuss elswhere on this page. The stations I have in mind are B-101, WROR fm, KOOL-102 and the other "60's, 70's and 80's stations. I generally like them for a while but can only take for so long being pushed through the Time Tunnel at lightspeed. I like my Goo Goo Dolls with some Gin Blossoms about 3 Doors Down. I like my 3 Degrees with Heart. I'll take Tony Orlando, but Dawn, go away.

There is nothing more jarring than to hear "Incense and Peppermints" followed by "we Built This City" then by "This Magic Moment [the Drifters]". Now, I love all these songs. Bu PU-LEEEEZE" Not at once. The world of 1968 was decidedly different from that of 1987 which was very different from 1960. I feel that I am being whipsawed around. Each of thse songs carry different psychological messages to me and these messages spanned 2+ decades. Going through 3 different 5 year eras in 8 minutes is a bit hard to take if you are a music hound or even if you have a brain and lived through them all. It's called Psychological Context.

Now if you think I'm an old fart stuck in a particular timefram: Faggeddabouddit! and if you need help in that direction, groove on THIS. I just don't dig being the ball in a pinball machine being played in a TARDIS set to "MaxTimeSlam" on a zigzag kamikazi mission to the Big Bang in the hopes of preventing the Daleks from evolving into lawyers, politicians or some other interspatial vermin.

What I would do is day/hour time-block the material. However, that would require having an understanding of the psychology of music (a feat that Ayn Rand confessed eluded even her), a belief that your audience has a brain and having knowledgeable staff. But then again syndication is about cheap, not bang for the buck. Who knows? Maybe if you do it right, you can be all things to all persons, just not all at the same time.


It may be strange to think of a "jukebox" music site having an "editorial position" but nonetheless, we do. Unlike most of my other editorial positions, it is not about some grave issue, or so it would seem, it is about music and particularly "oldies".

Before you can understand why I have an "editorial position", you must understand the "why" and "what" of here. As to "why" I mentioned that in the opening page.This music was an integral part of my teenage years. It seems to be vanishing from the airwaves; almost by design. To cure that I am creating a "superdisk" an mp3 CD of the material. The association with Space Patrol and the whole genre is that we were all pretty much teenagers at the same 1958-'63 timeframe, It was also a very happy time for both us and US. Finally the music of a time period of a culture calls back the emotional content of that culture.

Now as to the "what". This is a compilation of some of the material. It is by necessity, limited. Therefore you can use this in 2 ways

  1. To have again some of the highlight material of that time
  2. If you are new to this, as a sample and jumping off place
Because the space is limited, these are my picks, I chose what I liked and left out what I didn't like. For example, The Shirelles had a monster hit with "Dedicated to the ONe I Love". I did not like it, so I omitted it.Now, as it hapens, I got the material from CD's that are readily available from a public library. I got some of it from things like American Grafitti soundtrack, The very Best of the Drifters, Gene Pitney's Anthology, the Shirlelles' Greatest Hits. I'm telling you this so that you will go there, And that's an order!!, Consider this a preview of something larger. You will note that I feature as many websites and references as I can to these performers: Especially fan clubs; that is real people. Now as long as I can make it such, this is to be a FREE site, unlike The Wanderers and more like Patchy's. Best of all, I'm reachable, you can actually email me because I support the concept of "real people"and like what I am doing. I try to avoid being remote.

As to my "editorial position": Here's the bit: I see many great sites dedicated to the scene BUT they often cover a period from 1955 up into the 1970's, which, for their purposes is perfectly fine and I visit there plenty so I'm not dissing them for it. Now you will not find that here save, MAYBE in an "honorable mention" page, or as how it relates to the artists that we cover. For example many of the groups like the Drifters and Marvelettes are or were going as late as 1995, when, as part of Fall River Celebrates America, I caught an outdoor show that featured the Coasters, The Marvelettes and the Drifters. Do you know how I would have killed for that in 1961? and Brenda Lee recently won the Country Music Assoc. award (Hey, Cowboys, she was ours before she was yours, so treat her right or Ah'm a-gonna hafta come a-gunnin' for ya's).

However, we confine ourselves here to the late 1958 to '63 time period. That is when these folks were in their heyday.this is for several reasons

  1. As part of the "Space Patrol" domain, this site represents a time when most of the "cadets" became musically hip. But by now, you've been there and done that.
  2. There is a fundamental difference between say Gary US Bnads and Chad and Jeremy. You will notice that many US perfromers did not show up on the charts after 1963
  3. This era was decidedly different from the 1955 to 1958 period. Many commentators at the time were talking with awe about the "ballads" that were taking center stage. There were other musical changes: Doo-Wop was entering it's twilight (though it would be part of the scene,even to 1964, it would not be the major part it was in '58 and it is still being written, played and rcorded, just like psychedelic), string ensambles were added to the mix and the sound was generally less jumpy and jivey although it could still move it and grrove it. There was a distinct difference between Bobby Darin doing "Splish Splash| and "Dream Lover", dispite only about a six-month interval. Not to mention "Beyond the Sea" or the now politically incorrect novelty, "Clementine". It's as if the scene changed from "rock'n'roll" to "Rock and Roll" then to "Rock" it was the case that, although this comment was made after the Beatles, that it was no longer "switchblade Music".
Do not feel cramped, As you will see, there was plenty of music in that 5-1/2 year span. It was probably more dynamic than any before or since, Unlike today, it was a unified whole of many kinds instead of the fractured, incoherent mess of walled-off armed camps that we have now. What really frosts me is that "oldies" now has come to mean everything from Pat Boone to Debbie Boone.. I say,

I find annoying things like "The Music of YOur LIfe" or the other formats that mix things from the 40's to the '90's. Each of the timeframes had it's own look, sound and feel. To mix them at random is jarring to anyone with a brain and a decent memory. That's not to say that one is "good" and the rest are bad. Not at all, The Go-go ('64-'67) and Psychedelic ('67-'69) era's were great, especially the latter, and don't get me started on the joys of synthesizers or you'll have to stuff a rag in my mouth to shut me up. I have a website just for the "Classic/Progressive Rock" timeframe. But I don't like being whipsawed around as most of the Kool and Music of Your life formats do, I'd rather spend about 3 hours in each timeframe straigh up.
In one way, this is important. Just as you have "oldies creep". you are having "cultural creep". For example it has been noised around that "Generation X" is to include persons born in 1960. Now it is a fact that demographically, populations are computed in twenty year periods from the 6 to the 5 tweny years out. Thus "Boomers" run from 1946 to 1965. It is important to keep the record straignt (and honest). This is important since the dishonest will use whatever foothold they can get to promote their agenda and lies. I say "lies" becuase those who are doing it are 1)adults and are able to control their actions. 2) highly enculturated so they know better and 3)well-educated so they cannot use the excuse of ignorance (well they can try, but would you give them any credibility? My approach is just to say, "Does one so sure of oneself as you, so well educated as you and as grown up as you really want me to take you to be that ignorant, dumb or foolish? If that is what you want, I will do it. I lived the period, I have a Master's Degree--in Psychology, and can playa good deal of the material". Let them slowly twist in the wind.