Classic Rock Bottom

WOR-FM, THE FIRST COMMERCIAL FM ROCK STATION PT.6

Alright, with this chapter, Murray the K goes off, after playing a song you will know, that WOR-FM was the first in the country to play, and for a good while it was the only station to play it.
Rosko comes on, doing some scat singing to an instrumental I cannot identify, and he is doing his show live from a club called The Cheetah- I don't know precisely how long that continued.
Now he was the one we didn't know from other stations, and he was the biggest surprise,
His real name was William Mercer, often talked about how he had been a men's room attendant in New Jersey, and went by the name Rosko on air.
He had a very interesting delivery, and did unusual things on his show, some of which I will get to.
For instance, that scat singing to open his very first show here in NYC, and then there was a Lee Michaels song he loved.
He frequently would sing along with it, sometimes in the background other times in the foreground.
I'll play that song, and I expressed my regret that I didn't have an actual tape of him singing with it.
So naturally today I found one...ah life, lol!
If you are interested, in this episode I will play THE song that changed my life!
It was Rosko who played it, and I was completely drawn into it.
I don't know if that has ever happened to you, but it did to me in 1967- and it was when I still didn't have an FM Radio, still listening to someone else's, but now...now it was imperative that I get my own!
So after serious thought, I can confirm what I always suspected and play for you the song that changed everything for me.
And was responsible for my deep and abiding love for our Music that continues to this day.
I just hope YOU like it, lol!
It is almost as if I am trapped in this series, I keep getting new ideas and memories and finding more airchecks
I'd like to do just ONE more hour after this one, but to relate the history of the fascinating WOR-FM properly I may need two more.
 
Here's the link that contains a very personal experience for me, at WLSO.FM:
 
 
 
Mike

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Comment by Mike Pell on August 15, 2011 at 11:45am
I don't know why that is happening!
Comment by Mike Pell on August 15, 2011 at 11:45am

RJ,

Whiter Shade Of Pale is a great song, but as I joked about it I have never met anyone who understands what it is about, lol!

One of the Mysteries of Rock & Roll!

But the sound was ethereal (you used it correctly) and so different from anything else at that time, I can understand the record promoter taking a chance that if any station MIGHT play it, it would be WOR-FM.

Richie Havens and Follow...!

What can I say, that was a game changer for me- just so literate and with tremendous feeling.

That whole album, Mixed Bag, I played the grooves off it, lol!

It is one of the great LP's of all time, listen to it if you can!

And Richie Havens has put out some terrific music in his long career, I'll have another song by him in tonight's post.

That first FM clock radio story is true, too bizarre to make up- I always wondered what my parents thought but I never mentioned it, lol!

I had to look insane!

Thanks for listening and writing as always- you have a good ear,

Mike

Comment by Mike Pell on August 15, 2011 at 11:44am
What the...?
Comment by Mike Pell on August 15, 2011 at 11:43am

RJ,

Whiter Shade Of Pale is a great song, but as I joked about it I have never met anyone who understands what it is about, lol!

One of the Mysteries of Rock & Roll!

But the sound was ethereal (you used it correctly) and so different from anything else at that time, I can understand the record promoter taking a chance that if any station MIGHT play it, it would be WOR-FM.

Richie Havens and Follow...!

What can I say, that was a game changer for me- just so literate and with tremendous feeling.

That whole album, Mixed Bag, I played the grooves off it, lol!

It is one of the great LP's of all time, listen to it if you can!

And Richie Havens has put out some terrific music in his long career, I'll have another song by him in tonight's post.

That first FM clock radio story is true, too bizarre to make up- I always wondered what my parents thought but I never mentioned it, lol!

I had to look insane!

Thanks for listening and writing as always- you have a good ear,

Mike

Comment by RJhog (Admin) on August 15, 2011 at 10:41am

Mike,

Nice show brother.  I like Whiter Shade Of Pale as well.  That song is definitely different.  It has such an aura or etheral sound to it (not sure if either of those descriptive words are used correctly, but I promise that I know what I mean).

 

I would have never guessed that Richie Havens did the song Follow.  But then again, I know absolutely nothing about his music.  Nice song though, I can see how it could affect someone the way if affected you. 

 

Love the first radio story.

 

 

Comment by Mike Pell on August 12, 2011 at 5:22pm

Scottie me lad, I can't imagine how you would even think you offended me.

Not at all!
And I love those one hugely funny one lines you always manage to sneak in your writing, lol!

Offended?

Not a chance!

Comment by Scott on August 12, 2011 at 5:03pm
I hope I didnt offend you...  I was mostly curious.
Comment by Mike Pell on August 12, 2011 at 4:27pm

I know George Benson, Scott, and I recall that hit and I still like him.

Maybe I'll send you a song by him, been thinking about playing it for 9/11.

But the DJ scat singing seemed to originate with the earlier R&B DJ Jocko.

And I am used to being right of everyone else's center, lol!

i NOW RETURN YOU TO REALITY...LOL!

Mike

Comment by Scott on August 12, 2011 at 3:00pm
Thanks Mike, I think the Benson quip got by you.  His style was to scat to his guitar solos much like the sound byte you played (maybe you recall his hit "On Broadway").  I like him before he went all Pop/Disco, so thats the association I made.  But no worries, I am used to being way left of everyone elses center - I wouldnt know how to function any other way 
Comment by Mike Pell on August 12, 2011 at 2:38pm
Heighty Hi, Haighty Ho Scott, lol!
I hope you do go back and listen, it was a fun and formative time for FM radio, until the suits ruined it.
But thankfully WNEW-FM came along and saved things for us, expanding it with NO playlists & letting the DJ's play whatever they wanted.
But it all starts with WOR-FM!
I think the resistance to Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade Of Pale was the same as today, it just sounded TOO different.
That and the lyrics were as strange and indecipherable as could be imagined, lol!
That why the record promoter who returned from England where he heard it, figured WOR-FM would be the only place that might play it- they were playing other stuff considered weird at the time, and he had nothing to lose.
Not so much George Benson was listening to Rosko, but Rosko had been listening to a DJ named Jocko Henderson (look him up and play this, Jocko's Rocket Ship Show). Hmmm, lol!
Your consistent, dependable, crack-me-up line:
 

Thanks for the mind excursion Mike!  Now I have to return to reality...


Love that, LOL!
Good to hear from you and thanks for writing,
Mike

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