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Best Music of Your Life

This article was provided by Streetwise.
June 20, 2008 – June has been designated Black Music Month , but every year it seems to become less important. President Jimmy Carter approved the month-long designation and the industry promoted the 30 day salute with in-store and radio promotions for the first few years. Then by 1980 it was fading fast. Music was changing and the early stages of rap and hip hop were replacing so-called R and B, and “soul” had long faded to its weakest stage. Technology and radio were changing, CD’s were in – records were out.

So we do our part looking at the Chicago music scene. Growing up listening to Al Benson on WGES 1390am radio in the 1950s. This was birthday time for the independent labels in Chicago. It was the era of the Jazz Blues Gospel Do-Wop MIX where all of these elements

came together in the form of 78 rpm records. At the same time “Record Row” was born in the area between Roosevelt Road and 25th St. It was home to practically all of the important record labels and distributors. A few of the major labels like RCA, Columbia, Mercury, Summit were outside of this area. The small independents were on the South and West Sides of the city with hopes of moving into the “Row” area.

Radio was everywhere and knew few geographic bounds once the hits started coming down Michigan Avenue. WGES-WYNR, WAAF-WGRT, WBEE, WOPA, WJJD, WSBC, WWCA, WGRY, WHFC-WVON, and the majors WLS and WCFL were some of the stations that rolled the rock and “Chicago Soul” out before FM – before 1970. Also note that even WGN, WMAQ and WIND played the music at one time for sometime.

Who was on the air? This unscientific list of names includes the following Al Benson, Ric Riccardo, Sam Evans, Sid McCoy, Lucky Cordell, Franklin McCarthy, Bill Kenner, Buddy Bell, Reggie Lavong, E. Rodney Jones, Ed Cook, Butterball, Cecil Hale, Jay Johnson, Don Cornelius, Pervis Spann, Howard Miller, Wally Phillips, Jim Lounsberry, Larry Lujack, Bob Sirott, Art Roberts, Vivian Carter (VJ), Bill Doc Lee, Isabel Joseph Johnson, Dick Kemp, Eddie Morrison, Mr. V, Yvonne Daniels, Russ Vanoy, Marty Faye, Norm Spaulding, and Herb Kent.

Who made the Chicago hits? The industry’s “golden years” were between 1950 and 1980. From beginning to end it was Gospel, Jazz, Jive, Jump, Rhythm and Blues, Do-Wop, Rock and Roll, Soul, the English Invasion, Rock, Funk, Disco and Rap in Chciago.

On the radio now – I’m still playing the “Best Music Of Your Life” on the radio Saturday night at midnight – WKKC.FM 89.3 or WKKC.FM

If you get the chance, make sure you visit us at the Atlas Center for the Department Of Senior Services for the Blue Monday Luncheonette party for the seniors and those younger than 60. We start at 11:30 a.m. every Monday. We’re celebrating 40 years in radio.

This article was provided by Streetwise.

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