CRUISIN' 1965




Robert W. Morgan
KHJ, Los Angeles
Increase Records INCM 2010
Released September 1973


Robert W. Morgan passed away in 1998, after a battle with cancer. For more on Robert W. and the world of Boss Radio KHJ, please visit the following sites:
The Robert W. Morgan Bossography
Boss Radio Forever


Click on the car radio to hear a cheerleader get "Morganized"!

SIDE ONE (22:36): KHJ I.D. & Robert W. Morgan Jingle Hang on Sloopy - The McCoys (2:50) 1965 Rambler Commercial Wooly Bully - Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs (2:20) Thrifty Drug Stores Jingles & Commercial You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' - The Righteous Brothers (3:50) KHJ Magic Key (Boss Mustang) Promo-* The Birds & The Bees - Jewel Akens (2:07) "Mr. Zip" Public Service Announcement King Of The Road - Roger Miller (2:25) KHJ-TV Beatle Special Promo & "Golden" Jingle Sweet Little Sixteen - Chuck Berry (2:14) SIDE TWO (23:25): "It's 8:30 in Boss Angeles!" The Name Game - Shirley Ellis (2:40) Standard Shoe Stores Commercial The "In" Crowd - Ramsey Lewis Trio (2:58) "It's Boss" Promo It Ain't Me Babe - The Turtles (2:07) 1965 Studebaker Commercial Downtown - Petula Clark (3:01) U.C.L.A. Bruin Football Announcement Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire (3:20) "The Outlaws Is Coming" Commercial Lover's Concerto - The Toys (2:34)

The kind of radio known as Top 40 (though its practitioners might vary from Terrific 20 to Boss 30 to Fantastic 50) never got much better than it was in 1965, the year this volume of the CRUISIN' series alights at Los Angeles radio station KHJ amid Robert W. Morgan's morning show.

KHJ was a miraculous overnight success in the competitive Los Angeles radio market, an area which for nearly a decade had been dominated by KFWB, its Fab 40 and a roster of dics jockeys whose names were as familiar as the offramps of the Hollywood Freeway.

KHJ's "Boss Radio" was introduced to Los Angeles at 3 p.m. May 5, 1965, at 930 kilohertz on the AM dial - a mere 50 kilohertz sneeze away from KFWB/Channel 98. Within five months, 93/KHJ had surged past the rock competition - KFWB, KRLA and KBLA - to inaugurate a rule over Southern California radio which (has) extended well into the 1970s. So profound was KFWB's ignominy that it changed to all-news a short time later, retiring from the musical fray.

KHJ was the flagship station of a chain programmed by Bill Drake (whose voice opnes this record with the announcement, "And now, ladies and gentlemen, Robert W. Morgan!"), a man whose sense of pop music radio was so acute that he became the most influential person in Top 40 radio - and hence in the making of American hit singles - in the latter half of the Sixties. During this period he programmed or consulted stations which dominated Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Boston, Detroit, Memphis, Fresno and San Diego.

KHJ was strong, shiny, clean, bright and tight. Its structure was so precise that the disc jockey became just another element in its flawless mix, a resonant, friendly, professional voice blending between music, commercials, contests ("the Big Kahuna is coming!" "Here's another clue in the Batphone Secret Number contest!"), 20/20 News, public service announcements and station identifications and promotions. He became just another element, that is, unless he were someone on the order of The Real Don Steele ("Tine DelGado is alive!!!" a lady would shriek mysteriously, prompting a shower of exclamation-pointed, high-velocity, loosely-rhymed ejaculations from The Real) or Robert W. Morgan, CRUISIN's host for 1965.

Morgan (and Steele, and Sam Riddle, and a few others) was able to assert his identity through the fractions of minutes the Bill Drake format allowed disc jockeys. His confidence drove him to take chances few others would dare within those small crevices of time and his wit enabled him to make them good. Robert W. Morgan was among the first to take telephone calls over the rapids of Top 40 radio, bringing the idea of the vastly popular radio talk shows into a new area. His quick intelligence is coupled with a near-perfect radio voice: rich and deep and clear, with the uncolored enunciation which is the inheritance of those raised in Ohio.

Born in Mansfield, Ohio, Morgan grew up in nearby Galion, a small town. He attended the College of Wooster, 45 miles east of Galion, but his studies succumbed to his interest in WWST-AM/FM, which served Wooster's 15,000 population and the surrounding agricultural area.

After a spell of reading Farm Reports over WWST, Morgan moved to Los Angeles, determined to make it in the Big City. The Big City wasn't listening to Robert W., though, so he headed north to Oxnard, Cal. (pop. 40,000), where he landed at KACY. The Army intervened for three years, during which he managed to do two shows a day at KMBY at Monterey (pop. 22,000) by sneaking off-base from Fort Ord, using the name Mark Carroll on the air. Next came KMAK in Fresno (130,000). He moved to KROY in Sacramento (190,000) in 1963, working there asProgram Director and as Morning Man. This stint was followed by eight months at KEWB in San Fransisco (740,000). In each market, Morgan earned top audience ratings. Then came KHJ in Los Angeles (pop. 2.4 million).

By the time he returned to "Boss Angeles," Robert W. Morgan was a polished pro, ready to joust for ratings with the formidable phalanx of Morning Men already arrayed on the city's asphalted turf. He Morganized his competition within a year and maintained powerful ratings over the length of his 8-year association with KHJ. His mastery of the morning was officially proclaimed in 1973 when Morgan was named Top 40 Air Personality of the Year by Billboard, the music trade publication.

The biggest crop of 1965 was probably hair, as American youth fully succumbed to Anglomania, much to the grief of those barbers who weren't quick enough to set themselves up as hair stylists. In January of the year, President Lyndon Johnson, not yet a Credibility Gap victim, outlined plans for the Great Society, a vision which was to fade in the glare of a domestically-divisive war in Vietnam. Medicare was signed into law on July 30. Winston Churchill, Malcolm X, Adlai Stevenson, Albert Schweitzer, Nat King Cole and Stan Laurel all died in 1965.

Hang On Sloopy begins our cruise through '65 with a reminder that teen hits never die. The McCoys were a quartet featuring two brothers from Ohio: Rick and Randy Zheringer. Some years later, after changing his last name to Derringer, Rick Zehringer found a new career as a singer, guitarist and producer working with (and in) the respective groups of another pair of musical brothers: Johnny and Edgar Winter.

There are no hidden meanings to Wooly Bully, It's an energetic piece of nonsense concocted by Domingo Samudio, professionally known as Sam the Sham. A Texan, Samudio outfitted his quartet in jeweled jackets and Arabic dress, while he himself sported a feathered turban.

The impression of You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' was tantalizing. The Righteous Brothers - Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield - were a Los Angeles duo whose soul was developed and stretched and reshaped by the massive notions of Phil Spector, an inventive young record producer whose consistent success had earned him his own record label - Philles - on which this huge single was first released.

Jewel Akens was born to a Texas lady who had her heart set on a daughter, destined to be named Jewel. When the baby turned out to be a boy, he got the name anyway. Jewel Akens was 25 in the year of his only hit, The Birds & The Bees.It was a million-seller.

King of the Road was the biggest of Roger Miller's hits, a wry paean to vagabondage set to an irresistable melody. A Nashville mainstay, Miller had previously clicked with Dang Me and Chug-a-Lug. Like Samudio and Akens, Miller is a native Texan, Fort Worth variety.

Chuck Berry's 1958 hit of Sweet Little Sixteen provides a "93/KHJ Golden" interlude in Morgan's show. It's an archetypical portrait of a young female rock addict with a tune sturdy enough to support two hits: The Beach Boys borrowed it - with due credit - for their 1963 Surfin' USA.

Novelty records became a way of life for Shirley Ellis, a New Yorker who followed The Name Game with The Clapping Song and followed that with The Puzzle Song. All were written by her manager, Lincoln Chase.

After nine years of performing and recording, The Ramsey Lewis Trio finally found a smash in 1965 with a remake of Dobie Gray's The "In" Crowd, recorded with the help of an enthusiastic audience.The trio at this time consisted of Ramsey Lewis on piano, Eldee Young on bass and Red Holt on drums.

It Ain't Me Babe was part of the mid-Sixties Bob Dylan boom and a stron entry in the ranks of folk rock by a Los Angeles quintet, The Turtles, comprised of Howard Kaylan, Mark Volman, Al Nichol, Jim Tucker and John Barbata.

Petula Clark was an established actress and singer throughout Europe at the time of her first American hit, Downtown. It served to initiate a string of sizeable American Pet Clark hits, among them I Know A Place, My Love, I Couldn't Live Without Your Love, This Is My song and Don't Sleep In The Subway.

Eve of Destruction is the definitive protest song of the Sixties aside from its membership in the category of folk-rock. Lou Adler introudced the song (written by P. F. Sloan) to Barry McGuire, a former member of The New Christy Minstrels. Adler produced the record, one of the year's biggest.

A Bach piano exercise provided the basis for A Lover's Concerto, performed by a now-you-see-them-now-you-don't group by the name of The Toys. Your big chance to see the three girls - Barbara Harris, June Montiero and Barbara Parritt - came during their appearance in "The Girl in Daddy's Bikini," a film. But you could hear them often in 1965 as they provided another thread for the finely-woven fabric that was Boss Radio in Los Angeles.
- Pete Johnson


*-In case you were wondering... "The Fairfax Theater in Hollywood was the scene of a celebration when the keys to a shiny new 1965 Boss Mustang were presented to Miss Ilene Jackman, the winner of the first Boss Radio/KHJ Magic Key contest. Seen here (left to right) are KHJ General Manager Ken DeVaney, Ilene Jackman, KHJ Program Director Ron Jacobs, KHJ Promotion Director Clancy Imislund, and (in the background) the 1965 Boss Mustang." - from the bossradioforever.com website.

CRUISIN' THE FIFTIES & SIXTIES: A History of Rock and Roll Radio. Conceived and recreated by: Ron Jacobs/Production and Research: Ellen Johnson, Jere Alan Brian, Sandy Gibson, Sharon Weisz, Lyn Layce/Engineering: Bill Hergonson, Bill Mouzis (KHJ)/Art Direction: Paul Gruwell/Cover Art: Mike Royer/Executive Producer: Tom Bonetti/Dedicated to Wacco/All selections are the original performances as released on the following labels: ABC (Dunhill): Barry McGuire/Bang: the McCoys/Blimp Productions/White Whale: The Turtles/CGC (DynoVoice): The Toys/Chess: Chuck Berry, Ramsey Lewis Trio/Era: Jewel Akens/MCA (Congress): Shirley Ellis/Mercury (Smash): Roger Miller/MGM: Sam the Sham/Philles: The Righteous Brothers/Warner Bros.: Petula Clark (licensed through Vogue Records)/Special thanks to the Radio Advertising Bureau and Bruce Johnson, RKO Radio. /Station format and jingles courtesy of Drake-Chenault Enetrprises Inc. Copyright © 1969./Produced by RON JACOBS for Increase Records, Los Angeles, California. (P) & 1973 Increase Records/GRT Music Tapes

This page of the CRUISIN' site is respectfully dedicated to the memories of Robert W. Morgan and Boss Radio KHJ.

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