Thursday, June 26, 2008

WLS-FM Has Returned To The Building

Replete with jingles from the Top 40 glory days of "The Rock of Chicago," Citadel Broadcasting has resurrected the fabled call letters, WLS-FM, on its oldies station replacing WZZN-FM. At midnight, 94.7 WLS-FM - Chicago's True Oldies slogan went on the air with a welcome from Dick Biondi, followed by the song "Life Is A Rock (WLS Rolled Me)" by Reunion.

Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me) / Reunion

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin Passes Away

Comedic genius George Carlin passed away Sunday in Los Angeles. The 71-year old Carlin was best known for his routine, Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.

When Carlin uttered all seven at a show in Milwaukee in 1972, he was arrested on charges of disturbing the peace, freed on $150 bail and exonerated when a Wisconsin judge dismissed the case, saying it was indecent but citing free speech and the lack of any disturbance. When the words were later played on a New York radio station, they resulted in a 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening.

Despite his reputation as unapologetically irreverent, Carlin was a television staple through the decades, serving as host of the Saturday Night Live debut in 1975, noting on his Web site that he was "loaded on cocaine all week long," and appearing over 130 times on The Tonight Show. He won four Grammy Awards, each for best spoken comedy album, and was nominated for five Emmy awards.

This past Tuesday, it was announced that Carlin was being awarded the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which will be presented November 10 in Washington and broadcast on PBS.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fast Trax 15

Here are the answers to Fast Trax 14:

1. Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees
2. Le Freak – Chic
3. Shadow Dancing – Andy Gibb
4. Kiss You All Over – Exile
5. Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste of Honey
6. Hot Child In The City – Nick Gilder

Kudos to rogson, who correctly guessed all six songs and artists.

This week, we check out the second half of our two-part tribute to the Top Hits of 1978 on WLS. Good luck!

Fast Trax 15

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Here You Come Again

No, not the mega-hit from Dolly Parton that reached #3 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart and #23 at The Big 89 in 1978. A familiar set of call letters may rise again like the Phoenix on Chicago airwaves. Not used since 1995, WLS-FM is poised to make a comeback.

Next week, the suits at Citadel plan to petition the FCC to change "True Oldies" WZZN-FM into WLS-FM. Already in place are WLS voices from the past, Dick Biondi and Brant Miller. Could Uncle Lar or Records (It truly IS his middle name) be far behind? If the change is approved, listen for new and classic jingles to appear on or after June 26.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ian Thomas

As I was perusing a couple of books on Top 40 music from the ‘70s, I became intrigued with a Canadian artist named Ian Thomas. The former frontman for the folk group Tranquility Base, Thomas is the younger brother of actor and SCTV comedian Dave Thomas. Ian was a member of an early ‘90s group called the Boomers.

As an artist, Thomas is a one-hit wonder (which we love) with his hit Painted Ladies, which peaked at #34 on the 1974 Billboard Pop Singles Chart. Debuting on WCFL on November 3, 1973, Painted Ladies peaked at #4 on The Voice of Labor on December 29 of that year and spent 13 weeks on their charts. If you remember Dave’s movie, Strange Brew, Ian wrote and recorded the theme song.

With a sound reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, other artists, including Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (The Runner), Santana (Hold On), and Chicago (Chains), have covered a number of Thomas’ songs. Daryl Braithwaite had two Australian hits with Thomas tunes, As The Days Go By and All I Do.

Recently, I acquired two of Thomas’ 45s. Enjoy!

Painted Ladies

Chains (Perplexio from The Review Revue was interested in this song)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fast Trax 14

Here are the answers to Fast Trax 13:

1. I Heard it Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
2. Love Is Blue – Paul Mauriat
3. Jumpin’ Jack Flash – Rolling Stones
4. Honey – Bobby Goldsboro
5. Love Child – Diana Ross & The Supremes
6. Bend Me, Shape Me – American Breed

Congrats to the winner, volley, for serving up the correct answers.

As I mentioned last Friday, this week and next we'll explore the Top Hits of 1978 on WLS. This is a two-part tribute to the year I graduated high school. In fact, I will be back in my hometown, Waukesha, for Homecoming and our 30th Class Reunion at the end of September. Go North!

Fast Trax 14

Saturday, June 07, 2008

R.I.P. Jim McKay

Friday, June 06, 2008

Fast Trax 13

Here are the answers to Fast Trax 12:

1. If You Leave Me Now – Chicago
2. Adia – Sarah MacLachlan
3. Drops Of Jupiter - Train
4. Piano Man – Billy Joel
5. Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews Band
6. Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd

The winner was Griffin.

Originally, this week was to be Part 1 of the Top Hits of 1978 on WLS. However, since today is the 40th anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy, we'll do '78 next week. This week the 6 songs are from WLS' Top Hits of 1968.

Fast Trax 13

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Today marks the 40th anniversary of the shooting of Robert F. Kennedy, although RFK would live until the following day. "Abraham, Martin And John" by Dion was #19 on The Big 89's Top Hits of 1968.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bo Diddley joins the Legends in Rock 'N' Roll Heaven

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bo Diddley died today of heart failure in Archer, Florida. The 79-year old Diddley suffered a heart attack in August 2007, three months after suffering a stroke while touring in Iowa. The stroke affected his ability to speak, and he had returned to Florida to continue rehabilitation.

Diddley's trademarks were his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat. His first single, “Bo Diddley,” introduced record buyers in 1955 to his signature rhythm: bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp, often summarized as “shave and a haircut, two bits.” The B side, “I'm a Man,” with its slightly humorous take on macho pride, also became a rock standard.