The week of October, 17, 1966 found Keener at the zenith of it’s popularity. The air line-up you see is the iconic staff most Keener fans of the era remember, with the legendary Detroit radio personality, Dick Purtan cemented into the morning shift he would hold down for decades. Ted Clark and Jerry Goodwin became the quintessential mid-day team with Bob Green in the crucial “afternoon drive” time slot and Scott Regen pulling in huge night-time ratings between 7-10pm. J. Michael Wilson, who would find his way to mornings on Keener after Dick’s departure jocked from 10p-1a, while former WKFR (Battle Creek) DJ, Jim Jeffries sat in the chair overnight. Paul Cannon, a weekend stalwart, also held down the music director role and was responsible for the combination of sales data and listener requests that populated the week’s WKNR Music Guide.
The Surfaries kept their top spot. Perhaps listeners still longed for summertime as Detroit’s fall temperatures plunged. The Top 10 included records we still hear today, including artists like Johnny Rivers, Mitch Ryder, Herman’s Hermits and Tommy Roe. Acts who had less long-term endurance included the Pozo-Seco Singers, the Left Banke and Sandy Posey.
It was an odd time when no Beatle records were in the survey. Sunshine Pop was in full swing with the Monkees, Gary Louis, the Mamas and Papas and The Lovin’ Spoonful all getting heavy hit line action. And the Beach Boys entered the chart this week with what would become their only Keener Hit Number One, “Good Vibrations.”
While Keener’s signature Motown sound had only one tune in the survey, The Four Tops’ “Reach Out” was on the way down, two of the three albums of the week were Motown products.
Today in History:
1956 – Mickey (Baker) and Sylvia (Vanderpool) record “Love Is Strange” at the studios of Groove Records in New York City. It would rise to #1 on Billboard’s R&B chart and reach #11 on the Top 100 the following March. In 2004, “Love Is Strange” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its influence as a Rock And Roll single.
1957 – The movie Jailhouse Rock, starring Elvis Presley, premiers at Loews State Theatre in Memphis where Elvis worked as an usher five years earlier. The film also starred Judy Tyler, Mickey Shaughnessy, and Dean Jones. Tyler was killed in a car accident a few weeks after the movie was completed, and Presley was so upset by it that he refused to ever watch the completed film.
1960 – Although he had left the group a few months before, Ben E. King’s voice led The Drifters to the top of the US Pop chart with “Save The Last Dance For Me”. The record would reach #2 in the UK in December. The track was originally issued as the B-side to “Nobody But Me”, but quickly caught on after Dick Clark recognized it as the stronger tune and started playing it.
1960 – Dion And The Belmonts split up over what is described as “musical differences”. Dion DiMucci says that the Belmonts are leaning too much toward “Middle Of The Road” music, but insiders say that the sharing of money is the major factor.
1963 – The Beatles record the first of their “Christmas Records”, which were spoken word greetings sent out on a thin, flexible vinyl sheet called a Flexi disc, to members of their fan clubs. The first one featured the traditional carol “Good King Wenceslas” and individual messages from the four, ending with a closing chorus of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Ringo”.
1964 – A British group known collectively as Manfred Mann had the number one single on the Billboard Pop chart with “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”. The song was sung by vocalist Paul Pond, who used the stage name Paul Jones. Keyboard player Michael Lubowitz would retain the band’s name and continued to turn out chart hits until the mid 1980s.
1964 – The Rolling Stones release their second album in America, “12 X 5”. The LP, which would reach #3 on the Billboard 200 chart, contained “It’s All Over Now” (UK #1, US #26) and “Time Is On My Side” (US #6).
1966 – In Memphis, Tennessee, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer premeirs the film, Spinout, a musical comedy starring Elvis Presley. In the UK it was called California Holiday. Although it received mixed reviews, Presley was paid $750,000 plus 40% of the profits for his efforts. The film would be included in the 1978 book, The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (and How They Got That Way) by Harry Medved with Randy Dreyfuss.
1967 – The Beatles attend a private memorial service for their manager Brian Epstein, held at the New London Synagogue in St. John’s Wood, near the Abbey Road Studios. They had skipped his actual funeral in Liverpool on August 29th to give Brian’s family some privacy.
1969 – The Kinks are finally able to launch their first US tour in over four years. The band had troubles getting permits from the American Federation of Musicians because the group appeared on Hullabaloo in 1966 without filing the proper paperwork.
1970 – With lead vocals shared by Michael and Jermaine Jackson, The Jackson 5 scored their fourth straight US number one Pop single with “I’ll Be There”. Motown reported that the group had already sold more than ten million records worldwide.
1978 – Columbia Records releases “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” by Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand. Gary Guthrie, the program director for WAKY (AM) in Louisville, Kentucky, had spliced together two solo versions by the two singers, and began playing it on the air the previous May. Two months later, he sent it to CBS, who persuaded Diamond and Streisand to re-record the song as a proper duet. That rendition would top the Billboard Hot 100 and sell over a million copies in the US alone. The record company would later send a Gold record plaque to Guthrie, who also received flowers from Diamond, and a telegram from Streisand.
1979 – Fleetwood Mac’s two record set “Tusk”, an experimental set of songs that cost the band a then record $1 million to record, is released by Warner Brothers Records. “Tusk” peaked at #4 in the US and achieved sales in excess of two million copies, spawning two Top Ten singles, “Sara” and the title track. It reached #1 in the UK and achieved Platinum status.
1981 – Christopher Cross started a three week run at #1 on the US singles chart with “Arthur’s Theme”, (Best That You Can Do). It was his second US chart topper and also a #7 hit in the UK.
Singles Released Today:
1961 – The Tokens, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
1969 – The Band, “Up On Cripple Creek”
1971 – The Temptations, “Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)”
1920 – Montgomery Clift, Actor (From Here to Eternity, Judgement at Nuremberg), born in Omaha, Nebraska (d. 1966)
1933 – Jeanine Deckers (The Singing Nun) (“Dominique”)(d. 1985)
1938 – Evel Knievel, motorcycle daredevil (Snake River Canyon), born in Butte, Montana. (d.2007)
1941 – Jim Seals of Seals and Crofts (“Summer Breeze”)(d. 2022)
1941 – Alan Howard – bassist for The Tremeloes (“Silence Is Golden”)
1942 – Gary Puckett, American pop vocalist (Gary Puckett & The Union Gap – “Woman, Woman”; “Lady Willpower”), born in Hibbing, Minnesota
1946 – Jim Tucker – guitarist for The Turtles (“Happy Together”)(d. 1993)
1948 – George Wendt (age 75), Actor (Norm in Cheers), born in Chicago, Illinois
1948 – Margot Kidder, Canadian American actress (Lois Lane in Superman films, Amityville Horror), born in Yellowknife, Canada (d. 2018)
1959 – Norm MacDonald, Canadian stand-up comedian, writer, and actor (Saturday Night Live, 1993-98; Dirty Work; The Norm Show), born in Quebec City, Quebec (d. 2021)
1962 – Mike Judge (age 61), Ecuadorian born American cartoonist (Bevis and Butthead), born in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
1966 – Mark Gatiss (age 57), English actor and writer (Sherlock)
1972 – Eminem (age 51), Rapper and movie star (The Real Slim Shady, Stan and 8 Mile), born in St. Joseph, Missouri