Something that Denro and I talk about incessantly is how drastically music changed year-to-year in the 1960′s. The best place to go for a thorough and insightful exploration of Sixties popular music is Andrew Sandoval’s unique and outstanding online show, Come to the Sunshine.
Andrew Sandoval, “Come to the Sunshine”
After Pop gave way to the Psychedelic shake-up of 1967, 1968 was the year when underground FM stations started to take over the older teen market. The influence of FM on AM could be heard in records like this one, which became an unlikely top 20 hit.
What made underground, aka Hippie, radio possible in the Sixties? The same thing that was behind other 60′s happenings like NASA, the pre-Internet Arpanet, and the Vietnam War. The United States Government, that’s what.
To promote the adoption of FM stereo radio, on January 1, 1967 an FCC mandate went into effect that required radio broadcasters to no longer simulcast their AM signals over their FM stations. College-aged disc jockeys started to flood the airwaves in major cities, formats changed overnight, and instead of playing the latest singles they played album cuts.
The iconic Boston station, WBCN, had an overnight format change, but it didn’t happen because of the simulcast requirement. What made ‘BCN possible was the desperation of the owner of a failing all-Classical station. Former ‘BCN disc jockey Carter Alan, who is now on WZLX in Boston, has the story in his excellent book, “Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN.”
Jacques Urbont, aka Jack Urbont, is an old-school composer in the Tin Pan Alley tradition. With Bruce “Mission Impossible” Geller he wrote the Broadway musical “All In Love,” but most of Urbont’s credits are for television.
The music Urbont composed that is familiar to me was for the syndicated 1966 cartoon series, “The Marvel Super Heroes.” The introduction and closing for the show are found on a FlexiDisc called “Scream Along With MARVEL,” that came with the 1967 membership kit for the Merry Marvel Marching Society. I posted the record back in 2007.
The DVD of last year’s PBS documentary, “Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle” includes a marvelous extra feature with Urbont, who explains and performs each of the intros and themes he wrote for the Marvel Super Heroes cartoons. (Note that “Superheroes” is today spelled as a single word.)
I assume Stan Lee’s assistant that Urbont mentions was Roy Thomas, but I don’t know that for certain. Urbont exudes an infectious enthusiasm that is quite similar to Stan’s own effusive personality. Urbont’s lyrics capture the spirit of the Marvel characters perfectly, and I love seeing how proud he is of this material. I just wish that Disney, which now owns Marvel, would release a complete DVD set of the cartoons. A few years ago they were supposed to be made available for streaming on Netflix, but that didn’t happen.
A very Happy Birthday for the wonderful Prudence Bury-Fuchs! This is a promotional photo with Prue and Terry, her first husband, after they were married and had moved to New York in 1965.
Prue and Terry Hooper, New York, 1965
They were promoting the Youthquake fashion campaign, about which I’ll have more later.
There is a new Blu-ray release coming from Criterion of A Hard Day’s Night. I’m very pleased to see that Criterion includes Prue in the cast list.
British Pathé has put 85,000 videos on YouTube, including this one, for all of you youngsters to watch if you don’t understand what all the excitement was about with the Beatles.
A week already since I posted something. Being Sunday again, my usual routine is to listen to the Beeb, and today’s Johnny Walker’s Sounds of the 70′s on BBC Radio 2 featured Mike McGear, otherwise known as Paul McCartney’s kid brother, who played a bit of “Lily the Pink.” Mike’s on the left in this video, with a song he and his mates in the Scaffold put out in 1968.
Before Lily, the Scaffold had this ditty. I knew these records from WBCN in Boston, which was the first American outlet for Monty Python.
‘Been enjoying a very funny series on BBC Radio 4 from a few years ago, called 1966 and All That. I was happily surprised to hear Eleanor Bron, best known in the U.S. as Ahme in the Beatles movie “HELP!”
And speaking of BBC Radio 4, Brian Sibley has announced on his Facebook page that he’s been given the go-ahead for another series.
After a year-long negotiation, I have just signed a contract with the BBC to adapt T H White’s THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING as six 1-hour dramas for BBC Radio 4 this coming autumn!
THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING was the source material for Walt Disney’s THE SWORD IN THE STONE and Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s CAMELOT.