CRUISIN' 1966



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Pat O'Day
KJR, Seattle
Increase Records INCM 2011
Released September 1973
Resume/Where is he now?:
KAST [Astoria OR] 1957
KLOG [Kelso WA] 1959
KJR [Seattle] 1961
KORL [Honolulu] 1976 - GM/owner
KYYX [Seattle] 1977
KKMI [Seattle] 1983 - GM
Now: Involved in real estate and residing in Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands (northern Washington state).

Pat O'Day's book, "It Was All Just Rock 'n' Roll - A Journey to the Center of the Radio & Concert Universe" is now available. For more information, click on the KJR logo below.
Email: patoday@interisland.net

SIDE ONE (22:36): Pat O'Day Theme Devil With A Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly- Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels (3:30) Boeing 50th Anniversary Salute Sunny - Bobby Hebb (2:45) 1966 Plymouth Commercial Wipeout - The Surfaris (2:12) KJR All American Datebook Soul & Inspiration - The Righteous Brothers (2:57) Washington Fryer Commercial Psychotic Reaction - The Count Five (2:56) 1966 Continental Commercial Born A Woman - Sandy Posey (2:06) KJR Channel 95 Jingle SIDE TWO (23:25): KJR Number One Announcement Hanky Panky - Tommy James & the Shondells (2:59) 1966 Chrysler Commercial Walk Away, Renee - The Left Banke (2:39) 1966 Pacific Northwest Band Championship Announcement Lil' Red Riding Hood - Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs (2:40) Parker's All-City Dance Commercial See You In September - The Happenings (2:25) Jay Jacobs Jingle & Commercial California Dreaming - The Mamas & The Papas (2:32) Seattle Sea Fair Skipper Pin Announcement Sweet Pea - Tommy Roe (2:38)

The CRUISIN' series goes to KJR, "serving the Pacific Northwest from Seattle," and Pat O'Day, the disc jockey filling the afternoon driving hours of 1966 with an always cheerful shout.

It would be a little more than a year before an underground FM radio sound would begin to provide counterpoint to AM's Top 40 formula. In 1966, pop radio was, in the most literal sense, programmed; the playlist was rigidly limited to hits past and present, and the rap was equally sparse. As a result, many radio jockeys seemed as interchangeable as the bass lines of the records they played. KJR was as Top 40 as they came in those days, but Pat O'Day kept his personality intact, lacing his record introductions and public service announcements with corny jokes and puns, cryptic references to specific Seattle neighborhoods (puzzling unless you were living there) and sendups of fellow KJR staffers.

O'Day was 31 and had ten years in radio when he first played the records in this collection. His father had had a daily religious program on a Tacoma station when Pat was growing up, and he says it never occurred to him to try any other medium. Pat served his apprenticeship in smaller Northwestern cities, starting in Oregon the year Elvis hit, 1956, moving to Seattle and KJR three years later. At the time this album was originally released (Sept. 1973), he was still there as station manager.

In 1966, the album market was still "middle-aged." Of the ten best-sellers of the year, only two were rock and roll. (Best of Herman's Hermits, Best of The Animals.) The other eight were Herb Alpert (who had five!), soundtracks (Sound of Music, Dr. Zhivago) and Bill Cosby. All of which had almost nothing to do with the top-selling singles charts, from which KJR and the rest of the Top 40 stations in America took their collective musical cue. Here the blend was a more variant one, as shown by just the acts that had their first big hits this year - the Mamas and Papas, the Mindbenders, the Association, the Monkees, Simon and Garfunkel, Percy Sledge, and Tommy James and the Shondells, to name a few. This was also the year that Frank Sinatra sang Strangers In The Night and the Lovin' Spoonful recorded both Daydream and Summer In The City, while the top of the charts position went to, among others, the Beatles We Can Work It Out, Paperback Writer), the Beach Boys (Good Vibrations), the Supremes (You Can't Hurry Love, You Keep Me Hangin' ON), the Rolling Stones (Paint It Black) and - of course - the Troggs (Wild Thing), ? and the Mysterians (96 Tears) and S/Sgt. Barry Sadler, the deep-throated patriot who for five long weeks slogged through The Ballad of the Green Berets.

No less imposing was the wide range of news stories in 1966 - when first the Soviets and then the U.S. made unmanned landings on the moon, Medicare went into effect for the over 65s, Lenny Bruce died of an overdose of society, Massachusetts elected the nation's first black Senator, and brutal, random violence claimed gim headlines as eight nurses were slain in Chicago and a youthful sniper at the University of Texas picked off 44 persons, killing 14.

Many of the headlines topped lighter stories, as when the Capital of England became "Swinging London" and Batman captured the largest television audiences in America; when "The Story of O" became a controversial best-seller and after school the streets were a sea of granny dresses and Byrd glasses, pea jackets and bell-bottoms. In Hollywood, Elizabeth Taylor won her second Oscar (for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?") and Ronald Reagan gave up his role as host of "Death Valley Days" to run for governor. Don Adams of "Get Smart" put it nicely: "Sorry about that, Chief."

So much for the history. Now here's Pat O'Day...playing Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, a band that'd been called Billy Lee and the Rivieras until Four Seasons producer Bob Crewe renamed them. Their sound, as shown in Devil With A Blue Dress On, their fourth chart record for 1966: honkey rythm and blues.

Here's an outline for the Bobby Hebb Story. He was the first black to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, playing spoons and singing with the Smokey Mountain Boys. He later replaced Mickey of Mickey and Sylvia and wrote their only hit together, She Broke My Heart and I Broke Her Jaw. Then at dawn the morning following the assasination of President Kennedy he wrote his own first big song, Sunny.

One of the strangest successes of the year was Wipeout, a classic piece of beach kitsch by the Surfaris, a southern California band which got its name by bastardizing a Beach Boys song title, Surfin' Safari. The first time around, in 1963, this instrumental record went to No. 2. Three summers later it was back again, going only to No. 16, but hanging around on the charts for 14 bitchin' weeks.

Another, worthier Los Angeles-based sound was that of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, the Righteous Brothers. Soul and Inspiration was their first record on MGM, following a long string of hits produced under Phil Spector's brilliant direction, and the final No. 1 song for the boys before they broke up in 1968. Until then, their gospel-inspired baritone and tenor voices gave entertainment one of its most exciting musical highs.

The nation's first head shops were opened in 1966. LSD, peyote and mescaline were made illegal (in the Spring) and their popularity flourished. Tim Leary began preaching "Tune In, Turn On, Drop Put." A generation's consciousness began mutating. But before the year was out, "psychedelic" practically replaced "groovy" and the Count Five had its only hit, Psychotic Reaction. Psy-che-DEL-ick!

The titles of Sandy Posey's five hits say a lot. Her first, Born a Woman, on this record, was followed by Single Girl; What A Woman In Love Won't Do; I Take It Back; and Are You Never Coming Home?. Women's Lib was years and years away.

Tommy James and the Shondells were one of the first mentioned whenever anyone wanted to knock the rock and they were fave raves among the teeny set for years, releasing 17 chart singles in a row. It all started in 1966 with Hanky Panky, a No. 1 smasheroo. In 1970, Tommy went solo and his band changed its name to Hog Heaven.

Walk Away Renee was a soft ballad presented in a neo-baroque style, featuring pretty harmonies and a string quartet, unlikely features for five 18-year-old college drop-outs from New York who called themselves the Left Banke (with an "e"). But they liked to combine classical disciplines with pop and it worked, so nobody at Smash Records argued.

Sam the Sham (real name: Domingo Samudio) and the Pharaohs had the No. 1 song of the year in 1965, Wooly Bully. In 1966, the band's repertoire was expanded to include several novelty songs, among them Lil' Red Riding Hood. It went to No. 2, wolf howls and all.

Every June when school closes, somebody releases a record whose singer worries about losing his or her true love to someone else met during summer vacation. See You in September was the song in 1966, and the singers were four New Yorkers with pointy loafers, shiny suits and a trendy name, The Happenings. "I'll be alone each and every night/While you're away, don't forget to write..."

One of the nicest songs of 1966 was California Dreamin', the first single and first hit for pop's royal family, the Mamas and Papas. Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot, Michelle Gilliam and John Phillips produced dozens of perfectly listenable, immediately nostalgic, usually positive songs, all in wonderful four-part harmony. Tragically, they burned themselves out in only two years.

CRUISIN' 1966 closes with a reprise of the teeny-weeny sound, Tommy Roe's first chart record in two years, Sweet Pea. (He'd scored for years with girls' names in the title and didn't believe in messing with a good thing.) Sweet Pea was a girl Tommy met at a dance and right away he wanted her to be his girl. We never did find out if she said yes.

1966 was just full of frustrations like that.
- Jerry Hopkins.

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/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: The Mamas and Papas (Dunhill), Tommy Roe/Dot: The Surfaris/Double Shot: The Count Five/Mercury: Bobby Hebb (Philips), The Left Banke (Smash)/MGM: Sandy Posey, The Righteous Brothers (Verve), Sam the Sham/Roulette: Tommy James/Virgo: The Happenings (B. T. Puppy), Mitch Ryder (DynoVoice). Special thanks to the Radio Advertising Bureau. /Produced by RON JACOBS for Increase Records, Los Angeles, California. (P) & 1973 Increase Records/GRT Music Tapes

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