Classic Rock Bottom


This is the first Chapter of two weeks of shows I did back in 2007- so to everything I say, please add 6 years, lol!
It is a significant short Series to ME, because Engineer Ken Stanley and I were increasingly moving away from those Featured Artists shows, where you just bring in a couple of Greatest Hits CD's or albums (anyone can do that!), and moving to more interesting Topics and Themes.
I had previously done certain Historical Figures- for example, the Wright Brothers and playing Songs about Planes.
But Johnny Carson, while he was famous, was not really a Historic Figure- at least not yet, and maybe never.
He was an Entertainer...and he didn't even like Rock & Roll.
So the challenge was, how do you do a Rock & Roll show- even a Free-Form one, about a Talk Show Host/Comedian?
I knew if I could do this, from then on it would be Anything Goes!
Whether I was successful or not, the Anything Goes prevailed.
But you have these next four episodes to answer for yourself as to how I handled the subject of how on
May 22 Johnny Carson retired from the Tonight Show after almost 30 years as the late night host.
I will start the show off predictably enough, no surprise there.
And if we are dealing with the end of Carson's successful reign, we should start at the beginning.
So we will hear the 1st words EVER spoken on the 1st night he took over, Oct. 1, 1962.
And check out that amazing guest list.
Many people have forgotten, or never knew, that the Tonight Show back then, and for Steve Allen and Jack Paar previously, was one hour and 45 minutes long.
The 11 o'clock newscasts were only 15 minutes long, and here in New York City we got to see the first, extra, opening 15 minutes before the show was picked up nationally for the next 90 minutes.
Let's get started- HEEEEEEERE'S Johnny...!
Here are the links to get a seat in the FRONT row, at Mike Pell Rockollections:

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Comment by Mike Pell on May 23, 2013 at 3:47pm

Oh RJ, glad you heard the theme in the Annette song.

Jon is the only one who hasn't...but Jon is Jon, lol!

Comment by Mike Pell on May 23, 2013 at 3:45pm
And Johnny always spoke very highly of you, lol!
How many times were you on the Tonight show again?
Looking back now, which is what it takes sometimes, I realize how classy he was and how effortlessly he did the show- without stooping low for cheap laughs.
Great call on that Lettermouth, lol!
I can't stand him anymore.
And I know, I mentioned that unbelievable guest list- I don't think I ever saw Joan Crawford on a talk show!
Ah, like I said, it was a song we all know, was called Tonight, so I threw in the West Side Story song just to be unpredictable.
I love Steven Wright's's so thought-provoking and he keeps them coming.
The Raspberries get the the Golden Pell, and annoyingly I had to talk over it.
Back then Engineer Ken kept me on a tight schedule, unlike now when I sometimes run over more than a minute and a half.
Think I took that song from a vinyl album.
I'll send it to you to make up for it.
Warren Zevon, bless him, was always cool!
Thanks for listening and writing bro,
Comment by RJhog (Admin) on May 22, 2013 at 10:31am

Hey, unlike Mike and Jon, I liked Johnny Carson.  Much better than Lettermouth.  I could hear that theme in the Annette song.  But only because you warned me.  Cool.

For the little "first words spoken" bit, how 'bout that guest list?  That was amazing.

I liked the CCR track, but I'm not a fan of musicals so the Westside Story song is lost on me.

And I always liked Steven Wright's brand of comedy.  His delivery was brilliant.

I didn't realize the "tonight" theme for the songs you played until you got to The Raspberries.  And that song takes the Golden Pell.  But it almost went to Warren Zevon, 'cause that was a cool song too.

Nice "old" show my friend.

Comment by Mike Pell on May 21, 2013 at 11:33am
Well that was 6 years ago, I don't know who was alive then, but Annette was.
And Doc Sevirensen is still alive now, isn't he?
You didn't hear the Tonight Show theme in that Annette song...listen again.
It IS just you, lol!
Thanks for the "great stuff there".
When you put it this way- CCR, Warren Zevon, The Raspberries, Steven Wright- when I step back and look at it impartially, that does make a pretty good half hour.
And Steven Wright was great!
Now don't say Showtunes, it was just A ShowTUNE!
I do that now and then to keep people off balance, lol!
Me being honest too, I wasn't that big a Johnny fan either.
My true feeling was that he was probably a nasty drunk.
But there is no denying his impact on late night TV- he was the master, and had class wihout being crude or rude.
David Letterman hasn't been funny for at least 15 years.
He is now just a snarky crank...and that's without the drinking.
Might serve him well to start, lol!
Thanks for the listen and writing,
Comment by Jon on May 20, 2013 at 5:01pm

You scared me. The first couple songs were by artists that are no longer with us and I thought you had some sort of sick premonition going on with Annette. You know, I didn't really hear the Tonight Show theme in that song,  maybe just a teensy bit? Plus it wasn't that good of a song either. Maybe just me. 

CCR, Warren Zevon, The Rasberries....great stuff there. And then some Steven Wright? AWESOME!

Showtunes too...ya know, I never got into that musical. The song's allright the deeper you get into it, but the beginning is kinda draggy. 

To be honest, I was never a Johnny fan. My first introduction to late night talk shows was David Letterman (and I did see that Crispin Glover episode) so I guess I'm a Dave fan but I haven't watched his show for probably 15 years or any late night talkie shows.

Nice show though! 

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