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(Radio Insight)   Back in the 1990s, oldies radio stations' top 1967 hit was "The Letter" by the Box Tops and "Brown Eyed Girl" was just another song in the rotation. Today, that Van Morrison crapfest is the only song that survived '67 and "The Letter" is lost. Why?   (radioinsight.com) divider line
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366 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 22 Oct 2020 at 7:42 AM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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TWX [TotalFark]
2020-10-21 11:57:21 PM  
What's subby smoking?

The Letter is still played often enough on my local oldies station that it hasn't slipped out of public consciousness.

/Moon Dance is played far more than Brown Eyed Girl
 
2020-10-21 11:58:13 PM  
I dunno, subby, I've had it on my iPod for about 20 years now.
 
2020-10-22 12:26:51 AM  
What pisses me off about "oldies" stations is that even though they claim to cover a decade, or specific musical era, they play the top 100 songs from that era ad nauseum and ignore everything else from that period.
 
2020-10-22 12:27:06 AM  
Why didn't they play the Andrews Sisters on the radio much in the 1980s? It's a mystery.
 
2020-10-22 12:33:18 AM  

BizarreMan: What pisses me off about "oldies" stations is that even though they claim to cover a decade, or specific musical era, they play the top 100 songs from that era ad nauseum and ignore everything else from that period.


You might try Oldies Paradise, a Tunein internet radio station.  Bonus: no commercials.
 
2020-10-22 1:26:08 AM  
Because Clear Channel / "I heart radio" have decreed that only about 120 "classic rock" songs exist and no musician ever wrote more than three songs.
 
2020-10-22 2:00:31 AM  

BizarreMan: What pisses me off about "oldies" stations is that even though they claim to cover a decade, or specific musical era, they play the top 100 songs from that era ad nauseum and ignore everything else from that period.


I listen to Earle Bailey's Deep Tracks on XM. It's the only station that plays the shiat I listened to in the 60s.
 
2020-10-22 3:08:50 AM  

BizarreMan: What pisses me off about "oldies" stations is that even though they claim to cover a decade, or specific musical era, they play the top 100 songs from that era ad nauseum and ignore everything else from that period.


Pretty much any radio station will only play a song if it was a hit during its time. You can't find a Clash song anywhere on terrestrial radio other than "Should I Stay or Should I Go" or "Rock the Casbah."
 
2020-10-22 4:21:27 AM  
I was told there would be no math involved...

To answer subby's question-I think it's obvious the answer is that the further you move away from the years songs are released, the fewer the number of songs retain their prominence.  The time period for what oldies radio is playing also gets broader.

If subby and the link are asking why Brown Eyed Girl over The Letter, that's a tougher question.  My guess is that BEG never topped the charts partially because it was such a departure from Van Morrison's other work.  It is one of those catchy tunes that's easy to understand that many of us teenage dorks would put on a mix tape to our brown-eyed girlfriends in hopes that we could get a handjo WITHOUT her wearing a mitten (looking at you, Jennifer).  The Letter is a good song but doesn't check any of those three boxes that BEG does.
 
2020-10-22 6:54:12 AM  
Fun fact: "The Letter" was sung by then-16-year-old Alex Chilton from Memphis. He went on to form Big Star, who went on to put out three of the greatest albums of all time and remain massively influential to this day. Even though 90 percent of the public have never heard of them.

Wonder what The Beatles/Byrds/mid-period Kinks with a touch of Todd Rundgren would sound like mashed up as one band? That's Big Star.
 
2020-10-22 7:33:57 AM  
I prefer the version by The Band.
 
2020-10-22 7:44:16 AM  

Tr0mBoNe: I prefer the version by The Band.


I prefer Joe Cocker's version,

I've played in bar bands for a while, and Brown Eyed Girl and Mustang Sally are the two songs you better give a big tip when requesting if you want to hear them

/Like "how much you got" kind of tip
 
2020-10-22 7:54:18 AM  
ok boomer
 
2020-10-22 7:55:40 AM  
Fatal instinct - brown eyed girl scene
Youtube GC-gKcGta6M
 
2020-10-22 8:01:41 AM  

FlashHarry: Fun fact: "The Letter" was sung by then-16-year-old Alex Chilton from Memphis. He went on to form Big Star, who went on to put out three of the greatest albums of all time and remain massively influential to this day. Even though 90 percent of the public have never heard of them.

Wonder what The Beatles/Byrds/mid-period Kinks with a touch of Todd Rundgren would sound like mashed up as one band? That's Big Star.


I was one of those 90%.  Just gave an honest listen to songs. Ballad of El Goodo, Thirteen, and Big Star.

To summup:

media1.tenor.comView Full Size


They were kind of a head of their time, that sort of angsty soft pop rock was 10 - 15 years away from having a market.
 
2020-10-22 8:08:53 AM  
Van Morrison's 'Into the Mysic' came to life in the 2010's.  I don't think it got any airplay back in the '70's.
 
2020-10-22 8:29:00 AM  
you want a big hit single?
You want to know what sells?

Look at a mcDonalds sign.

SH*T SELLS.

G, C, D and you can chew gum to it.

Fun fact, it was originally Browned Skinned Girl.
Had it stayed that way, we'd all be saying "How'd the Letter do so well?"
 
2020-10-22 8:31:00 AM  
Birh of those records are in my Dad's collection.  I *think* theyre on original labels, too.   I still hear both on the oldies station, too, when they bother playing 60s instead of 80s.
 
2020-10-22 8:33:25 AM  

raerae1980: Birh of those records are in my Dad's collection.  I *think* theyre on original labels, too.   I still hear both on the oldies station, too, when they bother playing 60s instead of 80s.


now I feel old.
 
2020-10-22 8:37:05 AM  

Sgygus: BizarreMan: What pisses me off about "oldies" stations is that even though they claim to cover a decade, or specific musical era, they play the top 100 songs from that era ad nauseum and ignore everything else from that period.

You might try Oldies Paradise, a Tunein internet radio station.  Bonus: no commercials.


Thanks!  Just added Oldies Paradise as a favorite,
 
2020-10-22 8:39:52 AM  
I think the important thing is that horrific mess "Ode to Billy Joe" has faded into obscurity.
 
2020-10-22 8:42:28 AM  

vudukungfu: raerae1980: Birh of those records are in my Dad's collection.  I *think* theyre on original labels, too.   I still hear both on the oldies station, too, when they bother playing 60s instead of 80s.

now I feel old.


Heh!  😋
 
2020-10-22 8:50:06 AM  
In the late '80s we had phones at our desks in the office through which we could quietly turn on the "oldies" station - or not.

Why not.  The Letter was in high rotation, but I don't think I ever heard of Jay & the Techniques.

Let's face it, BEG was the best song Jimmy Buffett ever wrote.
 
2020-10-22 8:57:12 AM  
There are a ton of good songs from 67 still being played.  67 was a hell of a year for music.
 
2020-10-22 8:59:13 AM  
Because nobody knows what a letter is any more?
 
2020-10-22 9:41:41 AM  
I started singing it in my head right away.  There are several good versions out there.  Of course I am 60, so I guess I heard it on the radio a thousand times when I was a kid.
 
2020-10-22 9:45:39 AM  
Does anybody here work in radio? What do they use as source material these days? Some digital source ripped from CDs, like FLAC format? Surely they don't use MP3s.
 
2020-10-22 9:52:50 AM  

Zeb Hesselgresser: Thirteen


That song is (was?) a pretty creepy exposition on statutory rape.
 
2020-10-22 10:29:48 AM  
Ring Worm
Youtube LdKzRTju4yk

I still love Van Morrison's Contractual Obligation album.
 
2020-10-22 10:36:57 AM  

Therion: Because Clear Channel / "I heart radio" have decreed that only about 120 "classic rock" songs exist and no musician ever wrote more than three songs.


Basically this.  I listen to a podcast by a guy who was on radio for decades. They test songs and only the ones that get massive thumbs up in surveys make it to air.   No room for deep cuts
 
2020-10-22 10:37:16 AM  
It's been 53 years since 1967. 53 years prior to 1967 was 1914.

Not a lot of songs from 1914 were played on the radio in 1967.

Below is a song sung by Beryl Davis and backed by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. It was recorded in London during the first days of WW2. Davis later moved from London to the US where she was briefly a big band singer in the waning days of big bands. She later recorded with a group of  Hollywood stars whose movie careers were over. They recorded several well-received albums. Davis had a long life and died back in 2011. And this is the kicker: she had continued singing almost until she died. She didn't moan about singing at fairs and festivals backed by crap young musicians who had probably only heard of her when her sheet music was passed around.

She's 14 here.

Django Reinhardt & Beryl Davis - Don't Worry 'Bout Me - London, 25.08.1939
Youtube jFAzsusZyuc
 
2020-10-22 10:42:09 AM  

AliceBToklasLives: Why didn't they play the Andrews Sisters on the radio much in the 1980s? It's a mystery.


Kramer was listening:

Bing Crosby And The Andrew Sisters, "Pistol Packin' Mama"
Youtube PjgqQcKE3DY
 
2020-10-22 12:08:26 PM  
The sad thing is how many of these songs really are amazing in their own right, and really do deserve to be in the pantheon of traditional American music...but they've just been played to death for so long it's hard to back away and really appreciate them.

Brown Eyed Girl for instance...name another song played on popular radio with a Gdamn BASS SOLO. Yes, it's catchy and song-songy, and irritating after the million listed, but even then they made some decsisions that were far from traditional.

90s grunge is another one they've absolutely ruined. I swear, Pearl Jam must not have released a record after ten.
 
2020-10-22 12:12:59 PM  

Streetworm: The sad thing is how many of these songs really are amazing in their own right, and really do deserve to be in the pantheon of traditional American music...but they've just been played to death for so long it's hard to back away and really appreciate them.

Brown Eyed Girl for instance...name another song played on popular radio with a Gdamn BASS SOLO. Yes, it's catchy and song-songy, and irritating after the million listed, but even then they made some decsisions that were far from traditional.

90s grunge is another one they've absolutely ruined. I swear, Pearl Jam must not have released a record after ten.


And the Stones, Beatles, and Led Zeppelin only released 3 or 4 songs each.
It's a damn shame.
 
2020-10-22 12:42:12 PM  

yakmans_dad: It's been 53 years since 1967. 53 years prior to 1967 was 1914.

Not a lot of songs from 1914 were played on the radio in 1967.

Below is a song sung by Beryl Davis and backed by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. It was recorded in London during the first days of WW2. Davis later moved from London to the US where she was briefly a big band singer in the waning days of big bands. She later recorded with a group of  Hollywood stars whose movie careers were over. They recorded several well-received albums. Davis had a long life and died back in 2011. And this is the kicker: she had continued singing almost until she died. She didn't moan about singing at fairs and festivals backed by crap young musicians who had probably only heard of her when her sheet music was passed around.

She's 14 here.

[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/jFAzsusZ​yuc]


Sir, you are currently my favorite person in the universe. I was not aware of Beryl Davis, and now I am. I've always enjoyed Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grappelli, but I was not aware of her vocal contributions to their music. Searching high and low for a download or a CD of her recordings with them, but so far, no luck. But I thank you again, and would  like to return the favor by mentioning Lilian Leach and the Mellows, a 1950s vocal group. I hope you like it.
 
2020-10-22 12:43:53 PM  
I hear The Letter often enough on the local oldies station here in MKE. Except I listen on their actual terrestrial radio broadcast.

http://listen.streamon.fm/wzti
 
2020-10-22 12:52:55 PM  
In my city, the classic rock station IS the oldies station. The only place to hear pop oldies on radio is within "variety" format stations, and only three 60s songs are on their playlist: Dock of the Bay, Stand By Me, and Brown Eyed Girl. As someone alluded to above, consultants have found that these are the only tracks from the decade that tested with millions of thumbs up and no thumbs down.
 
2020-10-22 1:05:12 PM  

Schmerd1948: yakmans_dad: It's been 53 years since 1967. 53 years prior to 1967 was 1914.

Not a lot of songs from 1914 were played on the radio in 1967.

Below is a song sung by Beryl Davis and backed by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. It was recorded in London during the first days of WW2. Davis later moved from London to the US where she was briefly a big band singer in the waning days of big bands. She later recorded with a group of  Hollywood stars whose movie careers were over. They recorded several well-received albums. Davis had a long life and died back in 2011. And this is the kicker: she had continued singing almost until she died. She didn't moan about singing at fairs and festivals backed by crap young musicians who had probably only heard of her when her sheet music was passed around.

She's 14 here.

[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/jFAzsusZ​yuc]

Sir, you are currently my favorite person in the universe. I was not aware of Beryl Davis, and now I am. I've always enjoyed Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grappelli, but I was not aware of her vocal contributions to their music. Searching high and low for a download or a CD of her recordings with them, but so far, no luck. But I thank you again, and would  like to return the favor by mentioning Lilian Leach and the Mellows, a 1950s vocal group. I hope you like it.


I think they only recorded 2 sides. If you like Django with a vocalist, he also recorded with the ex-pat Freddy Taylor. Taylor does a very good Armstrong-style vocal.

Django Reinhardt & Beryl Davis - Undecided - London, 25.08.1939
Youtube qBvlkDxo7K8


My favorite Freddy Taylor/Django cut: After You've Gone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiXvM​B​FI_YQ&ab_channel=HeinzBecker

Love Doo Wop. Lots of under-rated vocalists. And I've never heard of Lilian Leach. Thanks. The style reminded me -- indirectly -- of the great Dion. Who has a new song out for the COVID. Here he is backed by Jeff Beck:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6ynS​t​oc60c&ab_channel=Dion
 
2020-10-22 2:01:50 PM  

Zeb Hesselgresser: FlashHarry: Fun fact: "The Letter" was sung by then-16-year-old Alex Chilton from Memphis. He went on to form Big Star, who went on to put out three of the greatest albums of all time and remain massively influential to this day. Even though 90 percent of the public have never heard of them.

Wonder what The Beatles/Byrds/mid-period Kinks with a touch of Todd Rundgren would sound like mashed up as one band? That's Big Star.

I was one of those 90%.  Just gave an honest listen to songs. Ballad of El Goodo, Thirteen, and Big Star.

To summup:

[media1.tenor.com image 385x196] [View Full Size image _x_]

They were kind of a head of their time, that sort of angsty soft pop rock was 10 - 15 years away from having a market.


Come on now, children by the millions scream for Alex Chilton.

/I never travel far
//Without a little Big Star
///and a third slashy
 
2020-10-22 3:01:23 PM  
I don't really listen radio anymore, as I don't have one and one at work died. So now it's all streaming, mostly provided by the phones of 20 somethings and a couple 30s/one 44, and The Letter is in relative regular rotation, while I have never heard Moondance there.
 
2020-10-22 3:30:18 PM  
in the 90's, a band i was in opened up for alex chilton. i was smoking a few bat hits backstage about a half hour before the gig when this professor looking guy walks in--wire rimmed glasses, suede patches on the elbows of his sportcoat, the whole deal. i was immediately apologetic and said "i hope you don't mind..." he unbuttons his sportcoat and underneath he had a tshirt with a big pot leaf on it. he said "no, it's cool, man--we just got back from amsterdam!"
and that's how the story of the time i smoked weed with ron easley, alex chilton's bass player, starts. he told me to drop in for a guitar lesson next time i was in memphis (that's where the wife's fam is, and no, i didn't take him up on it but i still have his business card somewhere).
 
2020-10-22 4:06:17 PM  

yakmans_dad: Schmerd1948: yakmans_dad: It's been 53 years since 1967. 53 years prior to 1967 was 1914.

Not a lot of songs from 1914 were played on the radio in 1967.

Below is a song sung by Beryl Davis and backed by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. It was recorded in London during the first days of WW2. Davis later moved from London to the US where she was briefly a big band singer in the waning days of big bands. She later recorded with a group of  Hollywood stars whose movie careers were over. They recorded several well-received albums. Davis had a long life and died back in 2011. And this is the kicker: she had continued singing almost until she died. She didn't moan about singing at fairs and festivals backed by crap young musicians who had probably only heard of her when her sheet music was passed around.

She's 14 here.

[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/jFAzsusZ​yuc]

Sir, you are currently my favorite person in the universe. I was not aware of Beryl Davis, and now I am. I've always enjoyed Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grappelli, but I was not aware of her vocal contributions to their music. Searching high and low for a download or a CD of her recordings with them, but so far, no luck. But I thank you again, and would  like to return the favor by mentioning Lilian Leach and the Mellows, a 1950s vocal group. I hope you like it.

I think they only recorded 2 sides. If you like Django with a vocalist, he also recorded with the ex-pat Freddy Taylor. Taylor does a very good Armstrong-style vocal.

[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/qBvlkDxo​7K8]

My favorite Freddy Taylor/Django cut: After You've Gone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiXvMB​FI_YQ&ab_channel=HeinzBecker

Love Doo Wop. Lots of under-rated vocalists. And I've never heard of Lilian Leach. Thanks. The style reminded me -- indirectly -- of the great Dion. Who has a new song out for the COVID. Here he is backed by Jeff Beck:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6ynSt​oc60c&ab_channel=Di ...


I heard about the Dion album. My friends are all raving about it. I will check it out. You might check out some 1940s vocal group stuff like the striders. I really like that early stuff.
 
2020-10-22 6:43:31 PM  

Shaggy_C: Zeb Hesselgresser: Thirteen

That song is (was?) a pretty creepy exposition on statutory rape.


Um... it's sung from the point of view of another teenager. Or at least that's how I took it. Maybe I'm naive.
 
2020-10-22 6:51:33 PM  
Scorpitron is reduced to a thin red paste:   You can't find a Clash song anywhere on terrestrial radio other than "Should I Stay or Should I Go" or "Rock the Casbah."

Agreed, but back in January Los Angeles oldies station K-RTH 101 played this... 
Pissed me off that The Clash was on K-RTH.
That's just wrong.

/get off my punk lawn, you non-punks 

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-10-22 7:33:46 PM  

Zeb Hesselgresser: I was one of those 90%.  Just gave an honest listen to songs. Ballad of El Goodo, Thirteen, and Big Star.

To summup:


September Gurls and Back of a Car are the two that propelled me into the stratosphere. But, it's not for everyone, to be sure.
 
2020-10-22 8:18:49 PM  

FlashHarry: Zeb Hesselgresser: I was one of those 90%.  Just gave an honest listen to songs. Ballad of El Goodo, Thirteen, and Big Star.

To summup:

September Gurls and Back of a Car are the two that propelled me into the stratosphere. But, it's not for everyone, to be sure.


September Gurls is a catchy tune.

Big Star and this chat are forcing me to remember my college dorm days, when a few bong hits convinced me that Hitchhiker's Hero was going to propel ARS to Jam Band Royalty Status.

I can still listen to it, but I understand the outcome of some of my decisions back then a whole lot better.

Atlanta Rhythm Section- Hitch-Hikers' Hero
Youtube x7Nl54BVEtc
 
2020-10-22 8:51:42 PM  

Zeb Hesselgresser: FlashHarry: Zeb Hesselgresser: I was one of those 90%.  Just gave an honest listen to songs. Ballad of El Goodo, Thirteen, and Big Star.

To summup:

September Gurls and Back of a Car are the two that propelled me into the stratosphere. But, it's not for everyone, to be sure.

September Gurls is a catchy tune.

Big Star and this chat are forcing me to remember my college dorm days, when a few bong hits convinced me that Hitchhiker's Hero was going to propel ARS to Jam Band Royalty Status.

I can still listen to it, but I understand the outcome of some of my decisions back then a whole lot better.

[YouTube video: Atlanta Rhythm Section- Hitch-Hikers' Hero]


Now there's a band I haven't thought about for ages. I did like a handful of their songs back then. I thought So Into You was the song that was going to do it for them, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iNrV​6​lIW9A

And in honor of Halloween, here's Spooky.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U04MP​Z​Qu_Xo
 
2020-10-22 10:02:49 PM  

lindalouwho: Zeb Hesselgresser: FlashHarry: Zeb Hesselgresser:

Now there's a band I haven't thought about for ages. I did like a handful of their songs back then. I thought So Into You was the song that was going to do it for them, though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iNrV6​lIW9A

And in honor of Halloween, here's Spooky.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U04MPZ​Qu_Xo


No doubt, they were a great band. I think there's a tier they never reached because they just didn't have a songwriter. Great musicians and bands are easier to find than great songwriters.

Many of us were blessed to grow up in an era of many great ones, I fear the world won't see a generation like them for some time.

Paul Simon - Slip Slidin' Away (Official Audio)
Youtube iUODdPpnxcA
 
2020-10-23 8:18:39 AM  

steve_wmn: Does anybody here work in radio? What do they use as source material these days? Some digital source ripped from CDs, like FLAC format? Surely they don't use MP3s.


when i left radio three years ago, the automation system we used only played standard WAV files. new songs usually came from the record companies via a FTP server from corporate. there are also services that are licensed to sell full WAV files to stations. I did find out the hard way that at least one of these services had no quality control and sold us WAV files that had been converted from compressed files. I looked at one of the files we got in a spectrogram view and saw that everything about 12k hz had been cut off. started looking at others and found about half the files they sold us were converted and useless to us.

when hard drive space was rather limited, older automation systems used MP2 compressed files.  MP2 is a lossy format like MP3, but it uses a WAV container (and file extension) to hold the extra metadata (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG​-1​_Audio_Layer_II ).

I ran into all kinds of nightmares with the music libraries on my stations. most of the music files came from the original automation system they put in back in the 90's and the program directors kept using them. I pleaded with them to get rid of the old files and replace them with full WAV versions to make the stations sound better, but I was ignored. some PD's had a weird habit of not caring where the file came from and they just put them in (an MP3 sourced from an old real player file from the 90's - sure let's play that on the air...). I had one PD that wanted his station to sound "better" so he took his music files, opened them in Adobe Audition, added a bunch of low end to the songs, and reuploaded them to the server. yeah - that sounded *great* on the air. and in case you're asking - he did get a promotion while I spent weeks fixing his screwups.

/done with radio
//work in TV now
 
2020-10-23 3:42:52 PM  
Cow Cow Boogie by Ella Mae Morse
Youtube ortOAiClE34


Big influence on Train Kept a'Rollin'. All but lost. I bet it never gets on oldies channels.
 
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