Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Take a Top 40 Mind Trip

The community radio station I volunteer for, WTJU is in the throws of a fund drive this week. Each quarter one of the four music genres we air takes over the station for a week and dives deep into its repertoire. This week, it's rock. And this time, I'm hosting a program that should appeal to listeners of a certain age.

When San Francisco Conquered the Charts

The 1967 Summer of Love brought nationwide attention to what would become the counter-culture. LSD users reported seeing vibrant colors, swirling shapes, and sounds that faded in and out. They used surrealistic imagery and stream-of-consciousness narrative to describe their trips.

The sights and sounds of psychedelia permeated the graphics arts, fashion, and music.

A Special Psych-Out

Wednesday, April 10, 2017, I'll be taking three hours to explore the top 40 hits from 1966-1969 that were inspired by the psychedelic vibes flowing from Haight-Ashbury. In addition to the grooviest Top 40 hits ever released, I'll also be mixing in vintage radio ads products and movies such as "Psych-Out" and "The Trip."

Authentic artists

Some of the charting artists were legit members of the scene. Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" really wasn't about a Victorian children's classic. "Incense and Peppermints" by the Strawberry Alarm Clock was considered authentic enough to feature in the 1968 movie "Psych-Out.

Many of the mainstays of the San Francisco scene (like the Grateful Dead) didn't chart, but Jimi Hendrix did with "Purple Haze." While straight-arrow Ted Nugent might not have understood what he was singing "Journey to the Center of the Mind," the songwriters in the Amboy Dukes certainly did.

And the others

Some of the charting artists got their experiences second- or even third-hand. The Avante Garde (with a very young Chuck Woolery) suggested one didn't need drugs for enlightenment with their chart hit "Naturally Stoned."

The psychedelic scene was picked up in other ways by popular culture. The quintessential hippy chick, a free spirit with free-flowing hair was the subject of the Cowsills "The Rain, the Park, and Other Things." She's found in the Association's "Windy, " and an early version in the song "Georgy Girl" by the Seekers.

Fitting 6 hours into 3

Once I started looking for the characteristics of the psychedelic scene, the question turned from "what to include?" to "how much will I have to cut?"

I could easily have done a program twice as long and still only including Top 40 hits.

If you're of a certain age (or which you had been), be sure to tune in. The program will be available for two weeks following the broadcast on the WTJU website.

Be sure to wear flowers in your hair, and have bread in your hand. After all, this is a fund drive for the station.

Next week, I'll publish the full set list.

No comments:

Post a Comment