Friday, March 20, 2009

Sixties Philly Top 40 Radio

Growing up in Philly in the 60's, I got a good dose of great Top 40 radio. Stations like WDAS, WFIL and WIBG were legendary with "boss jocks" like Hy Lit, Georgie Woods, Dr. Don Rose, Joe Niagara and Jimmy Bishop. Unless you lived through this era you just don't understand. In 1964 the music was new, fresh and innovative. I witnessed the beginning of the British Invasion when the Beatles were featured on the Ed Sullivan TV show. Radio stayed on top of this new genre with bands like the Dave Clark Five, Zombies, The Hollies, The Animals, Chad and Jeremy, Manfred Mann, Peter & Gordon, Freddie and the Dreamers and The Troggs. The music was so hot, I recall one morning when a particular Beatles song entered the charts at #40 and that afternoon when I returned from school it was the #1 song!

WDAS was the top station for people of color. Running parallel with the British invasion was the Motown movement out of Detroit with artists like Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Jr. Walker & the All Stars, The Contours and The Jackson 5. There was Philly Soul with the music of the Delfonics, The Intruders, Jerry Butler, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells, Bunny Sigler, Brenda and the Tabulations, and Major Harris. As a kid in South Philly I remember when guys would stand on the corner, under the street light and sing the sweetest acapella doo-wop harmony you ever heard!! Every week there were new soul songs on the radio and there would be corresponding new dances. According to my mother, I was dancing before I could walk! With American Bandstand, Ed Sullivan and the Jerry Blavat Show, we got to see all our favorite new bands on TV, but I was hooked on radio...the fast talking, supercool DJ's and the infectious music. Never in my wildest dreams did I picture myself with a radio career.

...to be continued

1 comment:

ALisa said...

Can't wait to hear the continuation my love!