Harv Moore, "The Boy Next Door"
WPGC, Washington, D.C.
Increase Records
Released July, 1988
Note: Ron Jacobs was not involved with this album.

Resume/Where is he now?
Harv has been kind enough to send us his memories of his involvement with the CRUISIN' series, as well as what happened after the album, and what he's been up to lately. You can read "HARV MOORE TELLS ALL! (Mostly.)" by clicking Here.

SIDE ONE: Harv Moore Intro Lover Please - Clyde McPhatter (1:57) Colt Ford Spot He Will Break Your Heart - The Groovers (2:50) Suburban Trust Spot WPGC Promo Spot Tequila - The Champs (2:05) Working on a Groovy Thing - Fifth Dimension (3:06) Hann's Shoes Commercial Talk to Me - Sunny & The Sunglows (2:36) Carling Black Label Commercial SIDE TWO: Abraham, Martin & John - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (2:54) WPGC Promo Coke Commercial My Boyfriend's Back - The Angels (2:32) Two In A Row Promo The Israelites - Desmond Dekker & The Aces (2:30) Tanya Suntan Lotion Commercial McDonald's Commercial Pushin' Too Hard - The Seeds (2:25) My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder (2:42) Harv Moore WPGC Promo

"Good morning, Washington!"

No, it's not Adrian Cronauer (or alter-ego Robin Williams). Back in 1969 Harv Moore gave listeners in Baltimore-Washington their morning wake-up call just this way. Bright and upbeat, Moore's "Boy Next Door" approach kept him, and radio station WPGC, the number one rated AM station throughout the Top 40 era.

Harv Moore started his tenure at WPGC in 1963, initially as the all-night jock. Before the year was over, General Manager Bob Howard recognized that Harv's style was a winner for the key morning slot, and in November he made the shift.

WPGC was a perfect example of the newer, slicker Top 40 approach of the era. In the face of burgeoning competition from the new FM rock outlets, AM rockers were tightening their format - less talk, less jingles, more music - a seamless (albeit less personal) approach. Harv, however, was one of the first announcers to develop a regular cast of comedic characters Kay Sera, The Colonel, Orville, Pronto, et al), and listeners loved them as well as Harv. This apparent conflict did not stymie Moore in the least, and it is a testimony to his canny instincts that he was able to integrate his style with the new approach and remain the city's top radio personality.

It was Moore who was requested to introduce The Beatles at their Washington Coliseum appearance, as well as host The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Herman's Hermits and many more. Always a recipient of awards for his innovative and appealing approach, this was capped when his peers from all over the country voted him "Radio Personality of the Year."

Just as GI's in Vietnam required a morale boost from Adrian Cronauer, listeners on the home front needed just the same from Harv Moore in 1969. Domestic and international tensions were at an all-time high, with the Vietnam "conflict" heading the list. In Washington, D.C. protest marches and demonstrations were virtually daily business, and the heat generated within the Pentagon walls could have almost melted Antartica. In Berkeley there were riots over the removal of Eldridge Cleaver from teaching his class "New American Revolution" (he was replaced by Tom Hayden). In New Orleans. the District Attorney Jim Garrison had investigated Clay Shaw for conspiracy to assasinate President John Kennedy, and after his acquital alleged (with good reason) that the Warren Commisssion had deliberately covered up evidence. In California, then-Governor Ronald Reagan asked the California legislature to help him drive "criminal anarchists and latter-day racists" off California campuses. In other words, the student body!

On the bright side, 1969 was also the year of the Apollo 11 moon landing by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20th. Broadcasters agreed to ban cigarette advertising. Golda Meir became Israeli Premier. Mariner 6 and 7, the first Mars probes, were launched. Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman, and John Lennon married Yoko Ono, only weeks apart from each other in March. The first synthetic heart transplant took place at St. Luke's Hospital in Houston, Texas. Woodstock drew 400,000 rock fans to Yasgur's farm for the largest (and peaceful) rock event in history.

At home the top rated TV shows were "Get Smart", "Mission: Impossible", "Hogan's Heroes", "Laugh-In", "Ghost and Mrs. Muir", and "The Carol Burnett Show." Films were better than ever and breaking free of past restrictions with "Easy Rider", "Midnight Cowboy", "Alice's Restaurant", "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "The Wild Bunch", "Take the Money and Run", "They Shhot Horses, Don't They?" and "Z." Mario Puzo saw publication of his epic "The Godfather" and Kurt Vonnegut achieved new fame and many readers with "Slaughterhouse Five."

Clyde McPhatter preceeded Ray Charles as the first of the gospel/church influenced secular black singers from which sprang the soul explosion of the 60's. In 1950 Clyde became lead singer for Billy Ward's Dominoes delivering astonishingly impassioned vocals on such hits as "The Bells" and "Harbor Lights." By 1953 Clyde was ready to go off on his own (he was replaced in the Dominoes by Jackie Wilson), and formed his own group, The Drifters. He immediately scored a series of hits for Atlantic Records with such classics as "Money Honey", "Such A Night", "Honey Love" and more. He was drafted into the Wrmy at the height of this success, and then discharged, returned to Atlantic as a solo artist. He scored with many hits, including "Without Love", "Seven Days", "A Lover's Question", "Since You've Been Gone", "Treasure of Love" and more. he scored his biggest hits for Mercury Records in the 1960's, aand was one of the first black artists to record in Nashville at that time. Billy Swan ("I Can Help") wrote his first song in study hall at age 16, and it became Clyde McPhatter's most successful record, "Lover Please."

The Champs topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks running in 1958 with their smash hit, "Tequila". However there was no such group! Producer dave Burgess was cutting some tracks on country-pop singer Jerry Wallace for Gene Autry's Challenge label. At the end of the session he had some time, and wanted to cut a quick instrumental throwaway for a "B" side. Session musician Danny Flores suggested a tune he had written in Tiajuana. Burgess quickly cut it, asking Flores to holler "Tequila" at every break in the song. Somewhere along the line, it was decided to release "Tequila" as an "A" side. There was no artist, so Burgess invented a name, The Champs, from Gene Autry's horse Champion. After its' surprising climb to number 1, Burgess formed a real Champs, including future stars Glenn Campbell, Jim Seals and Dash Crofts. They had only a few marginal hits, and after many personnel changes, the group was permanently retired in 1965.

In 1969 it was still possible for a local group to have a major local hit without national promotion, though national homogenization of playlists in the early 1970's soon put an end to that. "He Will Break Your Heart" first hit the charts in 1960, reaching No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Produced and written by Curtis Mayfield (who also played guitar) and sung passionately by former Impression Jerry Butler, it was destined to become a standard. The Groovers took it to No. 1 in Washington in 1969, but it was to be another six years before it became a national No. 1, this time by Tony Orlando and Dawn.

The Fifth Dimension began as a group called The Hi-Fi's. In the mid-60's they backed Ray Charles on a tour, after which they split into two grouips, The Versatiles and Friends of Distinction. The Versatiles were signed by Johnny Rivers to his new Soul City label at about the same time Lou Adler signed the Mamas and Papas to his Dunhill label. Rivers disliked the name "The Versatiles", feeling (correctly) that it was outdated. Everybody was pleased with the new name, Fifth Dimension. Noting the similarity in sound, Rivers first recorded the group in a cover version of the Mamas and Papas' first release "Go Where You Wanna Go." The two records more or less cancelled each other out. The next Fifth Dimension single established their own sound and the group with Jim Webb's "Up Up and Away". "Working On A Groovy Thing" followed their Number 1 "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In", but not to the top of the chart, as did "Working"'s follow-up, "Wedding Bell Blues."

When Harv Moore took over as WPGC's morning host, the top single as Sunny and the Sunglows' "Talk To Me." The song was originally recorded by its composer, Joe Seneca (who portrayed legendary bluesman Willie Brown in "Crossroads") in 1958. When it failed to chart, Syd Nathan cut it for his King label with Little Willie John ("Fever", "Leave My Kitten Alone"). It became a pop and r&b smash in 1958, and again when reissued with string overdubs. Sunny and the Sunglows, a San Antonio based Tex-Mex band, had featured the song in their live act, and decided to record it, stealing the string overdub arrangement from the reissue of the Little Willie John record.

In late 1968 Dion made a stunning comeback after a 3 year hiatus with a song written by his pal Dick Holler, "Abraham, Martin and John." Unlike so many songs of a similar nature, Holler had written, adn Dion had sung with a genuine passion and sincerity. This was not lost on millions of record buyers, as well as fellow artists and writers. Lead singer, producer and songwriter for the Miracles, Smokey Robinson (whom Bob Dylan called "America's greatest living poet") was moved so deeply by Dion's record that he recorded a new arrangement for a new Miracles album. Berry Gordy, recognizing that Dion's record had never penetrated the black community, decided to release it as a single. Not only did it become a major black market smash, it was the 22nd Miracles single to reach the Pop Top 40, a string of hits that began in 1960 with "Shop Around" and included Robinson-penned classics like "More Love", "Tracks Of My Tears", "Ooh Baby Baby", "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" and "Tears Of A Clown."

The Angels are one of the best-remembered girl groups of the 1960's, mostly for their number one smash (on Smash Records) "My Boyfriend's Back". Also a chart-topper in Harv Moore's first year at WPGC, the Angels had their first hit in 1961 with "Till" and again in 1962 with "Cry Baby Cry." Riding on a wave of girl groups that included The Shirelles, The Ronnettes, The Crystals, the Cookies, The Chiffons, the Marvelettes and many more, the Angels were the only group of white girls to top the chart in that era, as well as make the R&B charts.

Desmond Dekker was the first artist to introduce reggae to the American public. Record executive Russ Reagan was (is) always an individualist, and took chances based on his instincts which set him apart from most record men of his era. In 1969, as head of newly-formed MCA subsidiary UNI Records, he had already weaned Neil Diamond away from tiny Bang Records to major success, and signed Elton John after he had been turned down by many major labels, (including MCA subsidiaries) Decca and Kapp. No other record executive saw commercial potetntial in reggae either - but Reagan heard Desmond Dekker's "Israelites" and licensed it from Jamaica, feeling it was a hit. Proven right once again, Dekker hit the Top Ten with this American release. While his followups never matched this success, he paved the way into the 1970s for acceptance of Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley and The Wailers, Toots and the Maytals, and other Jamaican reggae artists.

Sky Saxon and the Seeds were one of the most interesting groups to surface in the first wave of Los Angeles musicians who were influenced by the Stones and other British groups. Saxon was a true blues fan (he recorded an album with Muddy Waters), as well as an innovative and eccentric exponent of garage-band rock. All these influences came together with a dash of protest, and independent label owner Gene Norman to his small GNP Crescendo label. "Pushin' Too Hard" was the only Seeds single to crack the Top 40 (in 1967), but their albums sold quite well to a large and loyal following.

Steveland Morris was born blind in 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan. As a child he learned to play a multiplicity of instruments, including harmonica, piano and drums. He began recording for Motown's Tamla label at the age of 11, but had to wait until he was much older, at age 12, to score his first number 1. Impressed with his talents, Berry Gordy assigned him the name Little Stevie Wonder, and tried (unsuccessfully) to find a proper direction for his young protege. Stevie supplied it himself, when a live concert recording of a song written by Stevie, "Fingertips (Part 2)", became his first smash. It took a while for this to sink in on the generally canny Gordy, and other producers followed this with only mild success. It wasn't until 1966, when Stevie again took hold of writing and producing (in conjunction with Clarence Paul), that his career really took off. "Uptight", "I Was Made To Love Her" and more established his credibility and streak of hits. "My Cherie Amour" was Stevie's (he had dropped the "Little" by now) 15th pop smash, and he has gone on to over 50 top 40 classics at the time of this writing, including "Superstition", "Overjoyed", "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life", "I Just Called To Say I Love You" and many more. He is also one of the major album artists of the modern era, and remains one of the great musical geniuses of our century.
-Robert Scherl

CRUISIN' THE FIFTIES & SIXTIES: A History of Rock and Roll Radio. Conceived and recreated by: Ron Jacobs/Executive Producer: Howard Silvers/All selections are the original performances as released on the following labels: A&M: The Groovers/Challenge: The Champs/GNP: The Seeds/Motown: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder/Mercury: The Angels (Smash), Clyde McPhatter/MCA (Uni): Desmond Dekker and the Aces/Soul City: Fifth Dimension/Art Direction: Lauren Garza/Illustration: Mike Royer. Special thanks to Joe Delmedico, without whose help this album would not have been possible.

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