Monday, August 04, 2014

A Season in Hell #183: The Magnificent Seven

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It's all about 7 inches tonight. 45s people! Traditionally the 45 RPM single was the hallmark of the bands current release. It was the song they wanted to feature. Unless of course you were The Beatles, whose American label: Capitol Records, would take the 14 song LP they released in Europe, take two songs off and release those as singles on their own. Record labels suck!

Over time, bands who only had a few songs to share would press them on 45. There were even ads in the back of magazines in the 1960s and 1970s that would turn you into a recording star. All you had to do was send a cassette of your song to them and they would press it on 45! There are some real winners there. And when I say "winners" I'm sure you realize how subjective that term is.

In my own youth, we had dozens of 45s in the homestead. I relate this story during the second hour of the broadcast. It was New Years 1974 I believe, and my father was late coming home from work. We were living in Toledo, Ohio, my birthplace, and my father owned a small jewelry store, Phillips Jewelers, that also sold trinkets along with fine jewelery. As he was locking up to come home and take my very patient mother out for a New Years celebration, he stopped into the store next to his own, to wish a Happy New Year to the owner of the shop that sold billiard tables, and jukeboxes.

The story goes, the owner asked my dad to come in and have a drink to celebrate the new year. My father obliged. Many drinks, and a few hours later, may father realizes that he's very late, and needs to get home. He also realizes that he better not go home empty handed.

Meanwhile my mother is dressed and ready to go out to celebrate. I'm about 4 years old at the time. My sisters are 10 and 11 years old. I'm certain we had a babysitter there too. My father is late. Very late. Mother is not pleased.

Here comes dad.

Mom opens the door. There stands my father, looking much the worse for wear. He beacons "I bought a BIG record player", and proceeds to fall flat on his face.

My father told his friend to throw a bunch of 45s into a jukebox and follow him home. It was mostly the hits of the day: R&B, Soul, Rock, and many, many Dr. Demento-type favorites, some of which I played on the show tonight.

Whatever happened to that jukebox? It lived in four of our homes, between New Years 74/75 and 1979. It even lived in my bedroom in Greensboro, North Carolina for a year, because that's the only place it would fit. It scared the hell out of me at night; it looked to me like a robot. It was huge.

But I played that thing all of the time. Every record on the machine became my friend. I understood growing up what it meant to be a "hit". Perhaps that's why I've stayed so far away from commercial radio. I think it made me allergic to hit singles! Wow, that's a serious revelation I've just had.

So tonight it's all about the "hits"! How many of these do you recall? There are some real doozies on this playlist. Listen to the podcast. I tell some fun stories, including the one you just read about. Thanks dad, for going out for that drink...or three. I'm sure it really pissed my mother off, but unbeknownst to you, that night had a profound effect upon my life.



A Season in Hell with John Hell
Mondays 8-10PM
Radio Valencia, 87.9FM in SF

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Earache My Eye: Alice Bowie
Mary Mary: Run DMC
Unknown Museum Stomp: Phantom Surfers

I've Been Everywhere: Hank Snow
Why Can't We Live Together: Timmy Thomas
Along Came Jones: The Coasters
People Get Ready: The Chambers Brothers

Can I Get A Witness: Rod Stewart
Ruby Tuesday: The Rolling Stones
I Need You: The Kinks
The Kids Are Alright: The Who

Immigrant Song: Led Zeppelin
Peter Gunn Theme: Art of Noise
Going Back to Cali: LL Cool J
Rise Above: Black Flag

Kick Out The Jams: MC5
You Got It: Mudhoney
Gary Gilmore's Eyes: The Adverts
Major Tom (German): Peter Schilling

Fantastic Voyage: David Bowie
Me and My Arrow: Harry Nilsson
Glad All Over: The Dave Clark Five
Interplanet Janet: Man or Astroman?

Please, Please, Please: James Brown
Rubber Biscuit: Chips
My Ding-a-Ling: Chuck Berry

Shaving Cream: Benny Bill
Fish Heads: Barnes and Barnes
The Curly Shuffle: Jump 'N The Saddle
Lumberjack Song: Monty Python
Smoke Two Joints: The Toyes

17 Days: Prince
Down On The Corner: Creedence Clearwater Revival

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