Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Radio Journeys

I made some mistakes as a DJ. While on the air. Here are a few of them...

When I first came to New York it was to be a disc jockey on WAPP. It was a big station at the time and I was part of a team in the morning, the other half being E.J. Crummey.

So we're on the air one day, about to play Street Fighting Man by the Rolling Stones, and I say, "You know, there isn't an electric guitar in this song. It's all acoustic guitar." Why I said that I don't know and E.J. was incredulous.  That's not true was followed by yes it is and then we played the song.

For a while I was right and then...

Here it came, an electric guitar along with the mud on my face. Go listen and see. You'll hear I was wrong.

It's one thing to be wrong in front of one person, it's another being wrong in front of thousands of them.

You want more?

I'd just gotten to Detroit and was jazzed to be in a market that big. I'd come there from Baltimore and went from the high teens in market size to the then number four city.

I was on the air reading a tag for a store that included a local avenue. That street is spelled Gratiot. It's pronounced Grash-it. I'd never heard of it and pronounced it Gray-tee-ott. Oh, the phone lines lit up and was I taken to the woodshed. "Where you from?" was the first question. The listener said, "It's Grash-it @#%." I said, "I'm sorry." "I'll bet you are," he continued, "Now play me some Skynyrd."

As Popeye said, "You live and you loin."

Another time, again in New York this time at WNEW-FM I was playing what is now my favorite Zeppelin song, Over the Hills and Far Away. You know how it goes. You also know it has a false ending and the song comes back and that's the end. I know it now, I didn't know it then and played the next song.

Before it ended.

Boy people were up-set.

As Popeye said...

Once in Chicago at WLUP-The Loop I was playing The Long Run by The Eagles and talking to my girlfriend on the phone. No big deal, right?  I wasn't paying close attention to what was going on as I was paying close attention to her.

And then it happened.

We were playing records then and as I turned to put the next one down I hit the turntable arm and up in the air it went. The needle bounced a few times on the record and ended up on another song.

All this as I was on.the.air.

I hung up, fast, on my girlfriend and just stared at the hotline knowing my program director would call.

To fire me.

He never did.

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

The old saying, "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good."

And that's a few mistakes I made.

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Friday, August 4, 2017


There are songs that are just songs but some times songs have words that touch your heart.

These are some that touch mine.

This is the test
No struggle no progress
Lend a hand to help
Your brother do his best
Things are getting worse
We have to make them better
It's time to give a damn
Let's work together come on now
-Rhythm Nation

Imagine you want to get into music. Imagine your brother is there first. Now imagine that brother is Michael Jackson. Janet climbed that very tall mountain and planted a flag at the top. She did it with songs that not only made you dance but also made you think.

People forget how big this album was. Huge. Also how good it was. When this song goes from 3, 2, 1, to the music? Is there a better start to a song? While you're at it, go to youtube and check out the video. And be amazed.

One other thing, those lyrics are just as vibrant and on point today. Just saying.

Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.
-Unanswered Prayers

Garth has been this gift. Ask people. With a heart of gold, with a knack for writing great songs, and have you seen him in concert? My wife is still talking about it. When you're young you have no idea how a line like this resonates. As you live Life, and gain seasoning, it resonates more and more. Sometimes not getting something you think you want is a good thing. Trust me on this.

People keep talking they can say what they like
But all I know is everything's gonna be alright
No one no one no one can get in the way of what I feel for you
-No One

I interviewed Alicia Keys when she arrived on the scene with her first album, Songs in A Minor. She was smart, pretty, and oh so talented. I met her at the Grammys where she was up for a slew of them, she won five. She doesn't know it but this song was my wife's song for me.

You made my soul a burning fire
You're getting to be my one desire
You're getting to be all that matters to me
And let me tell you girl
I hope and pray each day I live
A little more love I'll have to give
A little more love that's devoted and true
Cause all I do is think about you.
-All I Do

All I'm going to say is when Stevie writes a love song, a love song has been written. That's all I'm going to say. Oh, one more thing. He's very, very, special.

Some more...

Thinking about you and me and you and me...Danny Says-The Ramones

Since you're gone..the moonlight ain't so great...Since You're Gone-The Cars

I could drink a case of you and still be on my feet...A Case Of You-Joni Mitchell

I'd catch a grenade for you...Grenade-Bruno Mars

I think I thought I saw you try...Losing My Religion-REM

Strange how the night moves with autumn closing in...Night Moves-Bob Seger

There are many more for me.

How about for you?

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