Showing posts with label 1976. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1976. Show all posts

Saturday, July 01, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: The spirit of '76

There's no percentage in the present, so let's try the past.

Does 1976 sound good? Sounds good to me -- '76 was a very good year to be young and in love with music.

So it's settled . . . and the spirit of '76 it is! And it's all goin' down on the Big Show.

Now fasten your seat belt for a journey to the center of the Seventies. Stay tuned for complimentary 8-track tapes and some really cool tunes.

Right on, man!

Next stop: Recaptured youth and another crack at high school.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The things you find

SHOWN HERE in a high-school journalism scrapbook from 1976, saved by me and then my parents for no discernible reason, is an example of a "society picture with cutline," noted at top, which happened to be of Mr. and Mrs. Miller Williams, shown center, feted in Baton Rouge en route to Rome, where they were to reside for a year at the famed American Academy. With them at the large party in the home of Dr. and Mrs. Hulen B. Williams on Castle Kirk Drive were Mrs. E. B. Williams, left, the mother of Mr. Williams, and Miss Lucinda (Cindy) Williams, daughter of the famed poet, who had won the Prix de Rome awarded by the still-famed American Academy of Arts and Letters. Two years later, Miss Williams would begin her famed recording career, which was not initially feted, but achieved some note in 1988 and then became famed in the early 1990s, when she was feted at the famed Grammy Awards, where she won the award for Best Country Song for "Passionate Kisses." She then released her famed album "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" in 1998, which was awarded a gold record and for which she was again feted at the Grammy Awards.

Serendipity was feted for my happening to cut out this particular "society picture with cutline" from the famed Sunday Advocate in Baton Rouge some 37 years ago for my journalism assignment. Attending the small party in the Omaha home of Mr. and Mrs. Mighty Favog are Mr. Favog and a bottle of moderately priced bourbon.

Monday, August 05, 2013

The keys to the kingdom

Salvation can look like a Gideons' Bible.

It can look like a legal document, with a governor's signature and an embossed seal, commuting a condemned man's sentence.

Salvation can look like a beautiful woman with a pure heart, here to save you from your sorry self.

Salvation can look like a life preserver floating next to you in a choppy sea; it can look like an outstretched hand just before you slide off a precipice; it can look like the cover of your favorite record album.

Salvation, for me, looks like a brochure from the spring of 1976, one advertising this strange, unbelievably cool thing the East Baton Rouge Parish school system was calling a "magnet school." Inner-city Baton Rouge High -- venerable and grand and buffeted by the forces that had turned a small town divided by race and "the tracks" into a middle-sized city atomized into warring neighborhood enclaves -- was being remade into a school focused on academics and the performing arts, and not just anybody could get in.

THE SCHOOL'S new principal, Lee Faucette, was making the rounds of high schools and junior highs to make his best pitch to those schools' best students. And . . . sweet Jesus! Not just anybody could get in!

If you've ever been to junior high and hated it -- especially if you've been to junior high and absolutely hated school because you were somewhat good at it. . . . Well, if you have . . . and did . . . because you were . . . you know.

You know what a salvation Baton Rouge High was for kids like me -- for kids like us -- precisely because it was made for learning and not crowd control. Because there, you didn't have to be ashamed of learning. Because everyone there was there because there is where they wanted to be.

WHERE I didn't want to be come the fall of 1976 was at Belaire High, a soulless monolith that looked more like a maximum-security facility than an educational one. And to me, those magnet school brochures Mr. Faucette passed out looked like a Gideons' Bible, a commutation, a beautiful woman, a life preserver, an outstretched hand and a Bruce Springsteen album rolled into one glorious package.

I found this when my wife and I were in Baton Rouge cleaning out my elderly mom's house -- the home of my youth.  I saved it, and then she saved it, and then 37 years later, there it was stuck in a box jammed on a shelf. Sometimes, the only thing between you and a flood of blessed memories is cardboard, one-eighth-inch thick.

When we had to head back to Omaha, we filled our Toyota RAV and my mom's compact Kia with the stuff that mattered. My most excellent collection of 1960s G.I. Joes and Hot Wheels sits in the house that's no longer anyone's home, waiting for the estate sale.

The 1976 piece of card-stock salvation came home with me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

3 Chords & the Truth: 1976 comes alive!

It was 1976, and it was a year of possibility.

I was a sophomore in high school in 1976. The Viking spacecraft first landed on Mars in 1976. The United States was 200 years old in 1976.

And I was really into Loose Radio in 1976 -- the waning days of the age of FM "progressive rock" stations and the magical world they opened up to the kids who listened. A world of possibility.

This week on 3 Chords & the Truth, we'll devote an entire set to the magic, to the possibilities, to the album rock of 1976. Really, it's an "everybody wins" deal on the Big Show -- you get some really cool music, and I get to be 15 again. A much smarter 15.

OF COURSE, "All Things 1976" isn't all there is to the program this go around. It's not like we're going to be slighting all the other decades of the music of our lives . . . and our parents' (and maybe grandparents') lives.

It's all good, and it's all here on the Big Show.

What's that again?

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Simply '70s: All I want for Christmas

Santa: Click on ad for better resolution!

Dear Santa,

I know I'm jumping the gun a little bit, this being just the end of September, but I figured you'll need a little lead time to get this for me.

I don't know how many Spotmaster 5300 Multi-Deck broadcast cart machines there are out there anymore. I enclosed a 1976 ad for one from Broadcasting magazine so you can see what it looks like. If you find a Spotmaster 5300 Multi-Deck broadcast cart machine, you probably will have to have your elves fix it up some so I can play with it.

It's like a great big 8-track tape deck, only with six fewer tracks and more better sound quality!

I used to use a deck just like this a lifetime ago at WBRH, 90.1 FM, the booming 10-watt radio voice of Baton Rouge High School. Since it's probably too much of a job even for Santa to transport me back 35 years (and many more than 35 pounds), this, I suppose, will have to do.

I hope you can find me one of these, Santa . . . that would be really swell!

Oh, the fun I could have!

Please give the reindeer some apples for me.


Monday, June 06, 2011

Simply '70s: Mary Hartman predicts 2011

Mary Hartman! Mary Hartman!

In high school, I was hooked on
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman simply because it was the edgiest, cuttingest, wickedest (and most wickedly funny . . . when not wickedly painful) thing on television. In many ways, it was Monty Python meets Paddy Chayefsky.

And, come to think of it, this deeply satirical late-night soap opera was just about as prophetic as Chayefsky's
Network that same year -- 1976. Here, we see a parody of public television that comes to resemble the modus operandi of today's alternate reality of cable news -- where infotainment uses real people as weapons (and cannon fodder) to fight ideological battles for the amusement of their viewers.

Except, of course, when they use real people as salacious chum to draw viewers like one might lure sharks.

Young Rev. Jimmy Joe Jeeter got off easier than today's average media consumer, I say.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

All-American fascism

I just spent a lot of time contemplating this 1976 Pulitzer Prize-winning news photo at a Newseum-sponsored exhibition at Omaha's Durham Museum.

I suggest members of today's half-witted, mean-spirited "patriotic" lynch mob at Louisiana State University spend some time as well with this image by Boston Herald American photographer Stanley Forman. It didn't win the 1977 Pulitzer for spot-news photography for nothing.

The context differs between Boston 1976 and LSU 2011. The animating spirit, however, remains the same.

I hate it when my alma mater keeps living down to the 1974 Randy Newman song that so memorably references it.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Simply '70s: Life is a rock . . .

. . . but the radio rolled me.

Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me . . .

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me . . .

At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie . . .

Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me. . . .

Monday, February 21, 2011

Simply '70s: The day the music died

Back in 1976, the music really did die in Omaha.

That's when, on Sept. 2, just after midnight, the Federal Communications Commission ordered legendary Top-40 blowtorch KOIL off the air. As in canceled its license.

According to the commission, Star Stations owner Don Burden did very, very bad things. According to Burden and his employees, political and business enemies railroaded the Omaha radio tycoon.

Nevertheless, the flagship Star Station -- KOIL -- was toast after 51 years on the air. So was its sister FM station, KEFM. So were Top-40 giants in Portland (Vancouver, Wash.) and Indianapolis.

THE FEDERAL "death penalty" made news across the country. It was all over Broadcasting magazine (here and here) and the other trades.

And the Mighty 1290 was no more . . . for a while.

KOIL came back to the Omaha airwaves in December of '76, with a new owner. But never again was it truly mighty.

And soon enough, all that was left were the call letters, parked by corporate owners on another frequency, a robostation spitting out whatever the satellite and the automation dictates.

See, some things are worse than death.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Simply '70s: Punk in England in '76

From 1976, London Weekend Television takes a look at the British punk scene, in which we see the Sex Pistols before Sid Vicious, Clash before the "The" and Siouxsie before the Banshees.

We also see Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Topper Headon making some sense about why there had to be punk at that moment in musical history. And we see a calculatingly bored Johnny Rotten unable to grasp the contradictions of condemning bands like the Rolling Stones as "a business" while immersed in The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle -- the real one, not the mockumentary -- up to one's spiky hairdo.

The mod, hip, now and happenin' --
or should that be "mawd, 'ip, now 'n' 'appenin' "? -- Janet Street-Porter presided over all of this, despite being nearly 40 at the time and well-ensconced in the establishment the punks so loathed.

Well, at least Rotten didn't spit on her.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Simply '70s: Woot! Woot! Let's all pledge!

Nebraska ETV survived disco . . . and 1976.

But it was close there for a while.
Hotline, hotline,
Calling on the hotline for your cash. . . .