Bob Lefsetz: Welcome To My World - "Murray the K's Holiday Revue"
I went to college with his son!
Only baby boomers know how big the deejays were.
In New York, Cousin Brucie was on WABC, he was for the masses, like me, the young, safe kids.
B. Mitchell Reed was on WMCA. He was the hipster. Who came from L.A.
And on the far end of the dial, at 1010 WINS, was New York's favorite, the Fifth Beatle, Murray the K.
Actually, I became a big fan of Murray the K when he shifted to the FM band, Tom Donahue may have started free-form radio in San Francisco, but to this day that city's an island, a small market, the breakthrough was in New York, on WOR-FM, where Murray the K was not only the prime time deejay, but the program director.
At first I only listened to my dad's transistor. The one in the downstairs bathroom, covered in leather. Yup, just like today, with iPhones, your transistor had a case! Then I got my own stereo, with an FM tuner and...
My idea of a good Saturday night was to unhinge the speaker, drag it to the bathroom door, as far it would go, and listen to the aural trip of WOR while I took a bath.
That's the only thing that happened. Don't let your mind get carried away.
But mine did. With the long version of "Light My Fire." Full album sides. It was an insider's world when most people were clueless, they didn't even have FM radios, if they were in cars, in Lincolns and Cadillacs and Thunderbirds, they got lousy reception.
But this is jumping way ahead...
Back in '65, when I was already addicted, when I'd given up singles and was buying albums...
Someone gave me a gift of Murray the K's holiday show. On vinyl. One LP.
And Jill left it in the sun and it warped, a huge bubble, which made it unplayable.
It was a family crisis, even bigger than when Wendy's dog chewed up the cover of my Blood, Sweat & Tears LP...at least that still played!
I thought about that record for decades.
And searching for a version of the "Bristol Stomp," last weekend I found it on Spotify, not the iteration I remember, it's a two album set, but it's got all my favorites, the songs I loved then and the songs I've come to love now.
I loved Jan & Dean even more than the Beach Boys. I didn't own this cut on any of my albums.
What makes this so great is the crowd underneath. You feel like you're at the show!
I'm worried Jan Berry's been forgotten forever. But he was a wunderkind too, not quite Brian Wilson, but those records were...magic.
MY BOYFRIEND'S BACK
The best track on the set, something I didn't know from the radio, I was too young, but this was so infectious...it's the antithesis of today's vocalists, wherein everybody belts and there's no nuance.
It's a ditty, a trifle...but there's MEANING!
TOWN WITHOUT PITY
Oh, the way the band intros the song!
Gene's peak was "It Hurts To Be In Love"...DAY AND NIGHT, NIGHT AND DAY! But this...is totally different, and great in its own way. It'd be as if Jay-Z suddenly became a crooner...ah, that could never happen, today you do one thing and that's it. Whereas Gene Pitney not only performed in multiple styles, he wrote "He's A Rebel" and "Hello Mary Lou"! (Albeit with Cayet Mangiaracina on the Ricky Nelson hit...)
UNDER THE BOARDWALK
We'll be havin' some fun!
They don't make summer songs like this anymore. There are songs of the summer, but unlike this and the Lovin' Spoonful hit, they don't evoke the season, the change in atmosphere, the...illicit behavior.
HE'S SO FINE
The song George Harrison supposedly ripped-off.
I believe he didn't, but Bright Tunes thought otherwise.
But the song is SO FINE!
Back before Smokey had all the plastic surgery, when he truly was young.
I didn't dig this back then, I know how great it is now!
And it goes on from there...
Maybe you had to be there, not at the gig, but during the sixties. Back when music drove the culture, when the baby boomers were the biggest bubble and whatever they said went, hell, to a great degree that's still the case!
It's the energy, the performance...
P.S. I know, I know, "Bristol Stomp" is not on this album...but listen to it anyway, from before you could swear on TV, when we were all innocent, except...behind closed doors.