Friday, July 17, 2020

The 93 KHJ-LA Complete Boss 30 - 1974 (End Of Series)



KHJ 1974

The decade from 1965 to 1974. Suburban LA white girl, ages 7 to 16. Now, looking back, still in Southern California. Sixty-two now, but also seven. Also sixteen. The years don’t change, they accumulate, like the leaves of my liquidamber tree, crumbling and softening and feeding the life on the surface.

My earliest AM radio memories were mingled with the smell of cut bermuda grass, the whir of the push lawnmower, the feel of sun on my skin: the voice of Vin Scully on my dad’s transistor radio, calling the Dodgers game and telling us about Farmer John bacon and sausage, “the easternmost in quality and the westernmost in flavor.” Not KHJ, of course. My parents loved music, but if there was music on their radio it was KPFK (folk) or KFAC (classical). They had disdained popular music since the big band of their youth went away in the fifties, and weren’t about to listen to it now. Snobs? Well, yes. Me too.

Prior to this, most of the pop music we had heard (aside from the somehow ubiquitous Beatles) had been from singles/45s played by our babysitter, a paragon of 1965 teenage girlhood, complete with sponge-curler knowhow, ski vacations, and cheerleader pom poms. (She went on to shrug off all that, married a Frenchman and became an economist for the Fed). But I heard the top 30 hits in her room, and at some point during the middle Beatles years, my techie dad got my older sister a transistor radio of her own. 

KHJ and the boss 30 became part of our reality.

At age 11, 1969, lying on a faded beach towel on the grass in the backyard, reading The Hobbit, trying to get a tan on my tall, skinny, girl-child’s body. The smell of Sea and Ski lotion, the feel of prickly zoyzia grass sticking up through the threadbare towel: listening to KHJ on my very own transistor radio, the sound tinny and interrupted by static, trying to get that tiny dial to stay on the sweet spot of best reception. Aware of “hippies,” the Vietnam War, discrimination against Negroes (as we called people then), hearing my folks discussing a cousin’s attempt to go to something called Woodstock. I was not out in the world yet, but in a few years I would be, thanks to junior high and high school and my parents’ increasing preoccupation with their own, adult, worlds.

At age 14, 1972, lying on a JC Penney’s mass-produced psychedelic beach towel, at the actual beach and without adult supervision. Gossiping with my current best friend, reading Ray Bradbury, and improving the tan, except for that portion of the tip of my nose that was a perpetual blister from June through September. The smell of mustard, the feel of the warm sand and drying saltwater that encrusted every surface of my taller, still-skinny, most-definitely-not-filling-out-the-bikini body: listening to KHJ on the radio, mostly because one MUST have music at the beach, and the FM stations didn’t always come through. I was starting to have definite musical tastes, though, and when a song came on that didn’t make the cut, I would ruthlessly switch over to KRLA. But KHJ was in that salt-laden air, and each of the songs in the Boss 30 for 1972 is one that I know.

1974. I was 16, still a Southern California girl. I no longer body-surfed much, and it had been some time since I had lusted after surfer boys. The culture of Laurel Canyon had captivated me, as well as the intellectual life of speculative fiction; and if I was outside listening to the radio, it was a fancier one that played KMET and KLOS FM. The smell of the apricot tree, the feel of the embroidery floss and macrame rope sliding through my fingers: the sound of “top hits,” still, but hits that had filtered back and forth across the AM/FM divide. On the lists, I see Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Eric Clapton, but not the “good stuff.” More, the silly self-parodying stuff, the maudlin weepy stuff, the bounciest piece on the album. And yet, every single one is familiar to me, even now, 25 years later. KHJ was in the air. The DJ’s names, the ads, the station breaks - all somehow imprinted into my consciousness, a palimpsest faintly showing through all of the years, all of the music, all of the life that followed. 

KHJ. Southern California. That decade. It was in the air. 

It still is. Essay by Rebecca Roberts

1974 Part 1 (January-February)
1974 Part 2 (March-April)
1974 Part 3 (May-June)
1974 Part 4 (July-August)
1974 Part 5 (September-October)
1974 Part 6 (November-December)

It's been a long, and sometimes, a hard road to get this completed. And at last, it finally is. 1974 will feel quite different from the others but after listening to most of it, this seems like a fitting way to end the series. I'm not saying anything else about it. You gotta find out for yourself and be surprised! I think it turned out quite well. I hope it puts a smile on your face. So with this post and the others in the series, you will have EVERY LA Top-30 song, along with every US Top-10 (if it never made it onto the KHJ chart) nearly all (98%+) in the exact 45 single mixes (either mono or stereo) spanning from July 1965 through December 1974. Also included are actual station IDs, airchecks, and advertisements from each year featured in the series. I estimate 300+ have never seen a digital release. 3563 tracks. 137 hours long. This is the soundtrack for our lives. It documents the time when Los Angeles radio, particularly KHJ, was ever-present, like a passive participant in our lives. In Los Angeles, KRLA and for a while, KFWB were cooler stations but it was only KHJ that kept everyone in the family happy. So as youngsters, KHJ became the default station.

KHJ also spoke to the entire city and in a way united the city in a way that seems impossible today. Be it Lynwood, Compton, Covina, Tarzana, Anaheim, Bellflower, East LA, Canoga Park, Culver City, or Redondo Beach, it didn't matter if we had never met anyone or had never been to these areas. We were still united through KHJ.

There are a lot of people to thank officially for this. When I first started posting these last autumn, some AYBCS readers offered me upgrades and airchecks, so by my third post I understood how the series should be: all original single mixes and included as many airchecks as possible. Furthermore, I understood that I'd have to start all over again, go back to the first aircheck in 1965, completely overhaul my original posts, and add three additional years.

My friend Kwai Chang kept the flame burning and gave me the advice, support, and encouragement to see it all the way through. Without his support, I definitely would have petered out before completing it. It is his essays that you'll see in 1965-1973.

Rory has been my second set of eyes and has pointed out many of my errors and opened up both his vast collection and knowledge. He has been instrumental in bringing this series up to the next level.

Dave Rafter also helped me quite a bit by helping with his detective work, and I suspect, even bought a few items so we would have them here!

Kevin Johnson, Sitar Swami, Colin Push, Patti Rules, and Timmy have also made valuable contributions to this series.

I thank you all and I also thank AYBCS readers for sharing my enthusiasm for this project.

Finally, this will be my last post for a while, I'll be around to update links and make corrections. I need to recharge my batteries. I do invite you to look deeper into the blog, I try to keep all posts working properly.


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The 93 KHJ-LA Complete Boss 30 - 1973





KHJ 1973 - BOSS By Name(but, not by Nature)
Since radio was a very straight forward entity when KHJ began the BOSS Top 30 in mid-1965...it is easy to see and hear that by 1973 the realm had changed dramatically. It is not so easy to explain in words but anyone listening should understand that things were not so simple anymore.

First of all, radio had already been laid to rest when television became the medium of choice with the fickle public consumer base. When KHJ created the BOSS campaign, radio had not yet realized how wide open the horizon actually was. Thus, from 1965 until the early 70's radio was still trying to figure out what it wanted to be.

Along the way, FM radio had also elbowed its way into the competition and had brought entirely new concepts to the realm. Many of the FM philosophies were giving AM radio a serious run on the claim for the high stakes that were piled up on the table. To say the ante had been upped into astronomical proportions would be a most conservative estimation of the situation.

Never before had KHJ had so much to keep abreast of. This may have even given birth to a God Complex whereby the station was adamant about its superiority and its inability to fail. This usually results in an overabundance of confidence that takes on the form of cockiness that has always been dangerous to apply to the typical practice.

 In this case, those practices were what had always been KHJ's bread and butter...its formula for success. Here's where things can go terribly wrong. What starts as confidence becomes an unwillingness to bend. From there, everything becomes self-parody. So, this is the rut that KHJ would have to navigate/negotiate if it was going to keep itself from falling completely into it.

Where FM had started to present more vanguard approaches to radio playlists, formalities, protocol and even the identity stamps of station jingles...KHJ had more and more format decisions to make. Would it not bend an inch? Would it make the DJs take on even more flamboyant personalities? Would it start and end every dialogue, every sentence with "93 KHJ" from the mouths of the Disc Jockeys? Would they play station jingles only at news breaks? Would they even cover news anymore? Should they do away with traffic and weather? Do they need to focus even more on contests that were no longer meaningful enough to pursue? Did they need to endorse the community at all? Perhaps they should play only music and do away with DJs and Station Jingles!

All of these things were non-decisions in 1965. Now, 1965 seemed so far behind 1973...and the BOSS was starting to seem archaic. First of all, there was much more music being made and therefore more diverse types of music/sub-genres. This was a logistical challenge all its own. How to support the music industry AND remain loyal to your own existence. Had KHJ BOSS Radio outlived its own usefulness? Did the industry even need creative commercialism? And, could music survive without them?

These are but a few of the reasons that NOTHING lasts forever. Gimmicks become gambits and overconfidence becomes an Achilles Heel that is not just an idiomatic reference...but something quite physical. BOSS Radio was so good at what they had created...it seems impossible that it could actually end. And, somehow, it seems that KHJ would be the last to know!  Kwai Chang

We Transfer (Until 4 August)

1972 to 1972   Yandex    Zippy
1973 Part 1 (January-February)   Yandex     Zippy
1973 Part 2 (March-April)    Yandex    Zippy
1973 Part 3 (May-June)    Yandex    Zippy
1973 Part 4 (July-August)    Yandex    Zippy
1973 Part 5 (September-October)    Yandex    Zippy
1973 Part 6 (November-December)   Yandex   Zippy


You can see the Playlist getting tighter, and things are really changing for top-30 AM radio. Nevertheless,  some classics and a whole lotta rare single-only mixes. I wish the quality of the available airchecks were better. All in all, an interesting, entertaining, but possibly not essential year.

The final year in this series will be in about 2 weeks.

Monday, June 29, 2020

The 93 KHJ-LA Complete Boss 30 - 1972



KHJ 1972 (Community Appeal)
In the realm of AM Radio, KHJ seems to have been leading edge for so many BOSS concepts that would eventually shape all things radio. Their influence can still be heard wherever one tunes in...although many of their inspirations have been passed over for the sake of staying fresh and modern. Some of their ideas have been lost in the wake of format radio. Some have become antiquated as the world itself changes and tries to stay efficient. Many of the BOSS characteristics have been sacrificed due to world politics. 

However, the KHJ BOSS model was very good at maintaining an appeal that was as broad as radio has ever known. This can be traced to various strategies and well-planned objectives that were distinctly their own. Starting with the TOP 30 playlist, KHJ was supremely acute in terms of keeping their finger on the pulse of modern music. 

Focusing on a mere 30 songs every week served to magnify the station's prowess in regards to something it is seldom recognized for. KHJ had an affinity for holding everyone's air-wave attention. Their playlists represented virtually every category of music and the net result was a huge listener-ship. By avoiding specialization their efforts resulted in a brilliant cross-section of new music in general...not just rock and roll. 

Today that is an unheard-of notion that is no longer anywhere to be found. But, for KHJ, the practice worked well for the music business and for its own BOSS ends. It was the exact opposite of what exists today...and there was an inherent side effect of the TOP 30 at KHJ. Their playlists represented all members of Los Angeles' community. Young, old, commercial, esoteric, Beatles/British, baroque, rock, folk, soul, reggae, beat, pop, classical, comedy, romance, protest, surf, country, western, vocal, instrumental, middle of the road, novelty, Latin, blues, local, international, spoken word, and seemingly every other category that one can think of. Perhaps there was no electronica or industrial or thrash or grunge...these types of music had not been invented yet. 

It was all very melodic and in retrospect, this open-minded approach to genre bore many aspects that may not have been planned. Nevertheless, their omnipresent influence had undeniable effects that were a joy to behold. KHJ in all of their strategizing had created perhaps the most friendly place to ever represent Los Angeles. 

For, the broad range of music found on the TOP 30 was an accidental unifying agent for the entire community. It not only allowed everyone a way to keep abreast of all new music...it gave them a unified platform to tune into and feel a sense of belonging to. That might have been naive and innocent but everyone was included. Nothing like it exists nowadays...and that may be why this series seems so magical. It reaches out to everyone...and, Los Angeles has not been so unified as a community since. KHJ BOSS Radio wasn't just a station to play while driving the car...it was a foundation that represented everyone! - Kwai Chang

WeTransfer (Until 4 August)

1971 to 1972    Yandex    Zippy
1972 Part 1 (January-February)    Yandex    Zippy
1972 Part 2 (March-April)    Yandex    Zippy
1972 Part 3 (May-June)    Yandex    Zippy
1972 Part 4 (July-August)    Yandex     Zippy
1972 Part 5 (September-October)   Yandex    Zippy
1972 Part 6 (November-December)   Yandex    Zippy

This begins phase 3 of the KHJ project; phase one was to go back to the beginning from the first KHJ survey (65-66-67). phase two was to upgrade my original posts with more airchecks and update as many tracks as possible the actual single versions, or if I got really lucky, mono promo mixes of stereo singles (68-69-70-71).  It wasn't until 1971 was originally being put together that I realized how this series was supposed to be presented. But I knew that would take a lot of work. And it has.

Phase 3 finishes the story, so 1972 is the beginning of the end.  I plan to end the series at 1974 - by then KHJ was beginning to show its age, playlists were getting tighter, and it seemed the music was getting to be a bit corporate. Less about magic and more about moving merchandise. Nevertheless, I have an idea that should make 1974 a stunner. You'll see.

To be honest, airchecks for these years were a huge problem. As I was beginning to assemble 1972, I found more airchecks for 1972 and1973. Whew. But................ some of the airchecks suffer in quality.

I never really know what these projects are like until I finish and start listening. And I'm really happy with the way this turned out. There are some sections of this that really sound like you're listening to AM Top-30 radio in 1972. Also, the group that has been assisting me really came up with the goods and there are A LOT OF hard-to-find original single mixes here. Also included are a (very) few songs that made the national top-10, but were ignored by KHJ. And the music holds up pretty well!  This is a great time for soul groups and one-hit wonders.  Prepare to be surprised. This one's a winner. Take a long drive with 1972 KHJ  blasting through your speakers, even better, annoy the neighbors with this playing while having a backyard BBQ. It will a time-warp for everyone!

Finally, I need to give a big public thanks to a small team of people who have been supporting this project with their time and collections. What I made alone was good. With their help, it has been astounding. When the series ends, two posts from now, They will be thanked by correctly.
Blank Frank

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The 93 KHJ-LA Complete Boss 30 - 1971 (2020 Upgrade)



KHJ 1971 - Airchecks and Station Jingles

One of the things that made KHJ so BOSS was that they made their location-location-location seem very much like the only place to be. They sponsored a cascade of contests that were always related to their playlist's current events calendar as well as a decent amount of local commerce support. This was always decorated with a formidable flair that was all their own. But even more importantly, they never let you forget which station you were tuned into. 

BlankFrank's KHJ series is supremely special because of the insertion of many vintage airchecks and station jingles. 'AirChecks/Station Jingles' are a huge part of the radio game. KHJ certainly saw it fit to lavish sufficient budgets to aircheck/jingle creation and thus insured that the biggest possible blur was inherent to the listening experience. Station jingles set the personality pace of the station. They are the very first weapon in station vs. station competition. Airchecks and station jingles are what initially hooks the listener's attention...and, builds their confidence in the station. 

If your airchecks aren't cutting edge, how can your DJs be? Even, if you didn't like music...KHJ station jingles and airchecks were enough to make all citizens young and old aware that they were someplace special. Like icing on a cake, they serve to glamorize the station as well as the community. They help anyone who hears them fall under childlike spells that are both a friendly and familiar form of security that can be believed in. Even if it was ragged and naive...it helped make every day seem eternal. 

To be near a radio brought electricity to the landscape. Everyday life could seem like a mirage...a kaleidoscope...a Disneyland made of sound waves. Another pleasant side effect was that they reassured everybody that they were members of a community on the move. It was very nearly like the sunrise...something to count on...blending any routine into something special. Every listener could plot their own position in the community whatever the day would hold in store. In that context, KHJ was the hub of national AM radio. It happened at KHJ first, then the influence rippled outwards...to everywhere else. 

KHJ's BOSS jingles were ultra-slick productions that set the premier standard for all other stations to follow. KHJ's creations gave Los Angeles its own personality and certainly, Smalltown USA couldn't help follow suit...to the best of their ability, anyway. The indirect result was that they also helped shape all other factions of modern lifestyle, as well as the foundation of industry, commerce, etc. in any area. Los Angeles was many things...and being the home of magical dreams and desires was one of them. 

Airchecks and station jingles were both the cause and the symptom. If time is an infinite piece of thread, then BOSS Radio made sure that every listener was a needle...
No cure for this one! It's never going to stop...
Or at least, that's how it seemed then.
Wide-open...and radio proved it.
-Kwai Chang

WeTransfer (Until 4 August)

1970 to 71  Yandex    Zippy
1971 Part 1 (January-February)    Yandex    Zippy
1971 Part 2 (March-April)    Yandex    Zippy
1971 Part 3 (May-June)    Yandex    Zippy
1971 Part 4 (June-July)    Yandex    Zippy
1971 Part 5 (September-October)    Yandex    Zippy
1971 Part 6 (November-December)    Yandex    Zippy











Sunday, June 14, 2020

The 93 KHJ-LA Complete Boss 30 - 1970 (2020 Upgrade)



Kwai Chang Essay:  I wonder how KHJ management felt in April of 1970 when Paul McCartney made it formal...The Beatles were OVER! If the fab four had actually been ANY part of BOSS Radio's inception, was their demise going to play a role in how boss KHJ would continue to be? The Beatles' name did not even appear on the very first Top 30 survey. That didn't happen until survey #2 with the HELP single listed as "HIT BOUNDS (ON THE WAY UP)". From that moment forward, the group would be a primary piece of BOSS Radio's airwave weaponry. 

On the surface, KHJ understood the group's potential and had no need to act differently towards them. It was a subdued approach that oozed confidence in The Beatles' coolness and made the absolute most of their high standard of radio-friendly gravity. The group had already proven that they could generate sufficient numbers where ever they were marketed. KHJ was reciprocating a similar coolness by showing them no particular favoritism. It was a very strategic way to bank on the group's already proven track record. 

At KHJ, The Beatles might have just as well been a local band with everything to lose...and no conspicuous favoritism is shown them. Very clever. There were plenty of markets that were heavily reliant on The Beatles' inclusion in the proceedings. So, at KHJ, The Beatles had to succeed on the same level playing field as every other act listed in the surveys. Their week to week status would be determined the same way as the local newcomers. After all, KHJ had an incredible influence on many demographics. Los Angeles was just one of them. So, it was on survey #4, that we finally see The Beatles in the Top 30 with their single HELP at position #13! What is interesting about this is that the group's name DID appear on survey #3 as part of a contest for FREE tickets to see their upcoming concert at The Hollywood Bowl. But, they were NOT listed as HIT BOUND the week prior as survey #4 claims. The same contest for free Bowl tickets also appeared on survey #4. On survey #5 the single rose to #5 in the Top 30. A

 NEW contest was announced for MORE FREE BEATLES TICKETS...and at the top of the HIT BOUNDS is the group's HELP LP(the WHOLE album)! So, this cool approach to the fab four was gaining some boss momentum. If KHJ's relationship with The Beatles was symbiotic, it was being played coolly. Survey #6 has the HELP single up to #4 in the Top 30 with the Hollywood Bowl shows still more than three weeks away. Survey #7 proudly boasts the image from inside the HELP album's gatefold jacket! Beneath the photo is HEAR THE BEATLES ON 93/KHJ! Meanwhile, the HELP single falls back down to #5. Survey #8 the single holds steady at #5...with the concerts in L.A. only four days away! After the Bowl shows, survey #9 finds the HELP single up two notches to #3 AND we see the single YESTERDAY at the top of HIT BOUNDS. Then, on survey #10, there are two Beatles singles in the Top 30...HELP steady at #3 and YESTERDAY at #29. Survey #11: (WATCH OUT)---> Cleverness alert! We have HELP single down to #8 while at #11 is...wait for it...YESTERDAY...by PAUL McCARTNEY. This might coincide with a rumored/planned solo album by the cute Beatle. Was this a KHJ insider tip/internal-use-only memo(?) from Capitol's Dave Dexter Jr.??? Or...or, or, or! 

It's irrelevant. It is more clever KHJ promo-promotion(call it POT-STIRRING) and also a possible downplay of the over-used moniker(Beatles). Who knows? But, I guarantee, it generated SPIN...both literally and figuratively. Pure genius from the BOSS! All the while keeping the top slot open for more local contenders. Like I said...this Beatles support in the Top 30 needed to look innocuous! So far, so good! Just watch: Survey #12 finds the McCARTNEY single (YESTERDAY) up to #3 while The Beatles' HELP(...now listed as HELP/I'M DOWN) is down one notch to #9! Fantastic spin...ALL from the still new...still fresh radio in "BOSS Angeles"! Survey #13 find NO CHANGE in position of YESTERDAY or HELP/I'M DOWN...(#3 and #9, respectively). Man, is this just far out...or WHAT? Survey #14 finds our very first #1 by PAUL McCARTNEY with YESTERDAY as HELP/I'M DOWN falls ever farther to #12. Survey #15 sees NO change regarding The Beatles entries including PAUL McCARTNEY's name. He's still listed as the artist with the TOP slot on the Top 30. 

We can see that KHJ was adamant in showing no Beatles bias. So, for now...only one song(unless you count I'M DOWN) is listed with their name on it! Survey #16 follows through on this with PAUL McCARTNEY's YESTERDAY holding the Top 30 top slot for the third straight week and NO entry listed to The Beatles. HELP/I'M DOWN has fallen off completely. On survey #17...MORE Beatles razzle-dazzle. YESTERDAY (STILL listed by PMc) has fallen to #5...and lo and behold, HELP returns to the Top 30 at #30 without the I'M DOWN designation. The more The Beatles are downplayed...the more bias they actually receive. 

All the while, making The Fabs just another name in the pack. It also made the Top 30 the most exciting list in music. Billboard's HOT 100 was too big and only served to lose artists in its enormity. Remember, ONLY two Beatles songs have given buoyancy to 16 weeks of Top 30. That's not bad considering this infancy was only 17 weeks old. It might be that KHJ was the most amazed of all as all of their objectives seemed to be realizing themselves. What could that have to do with The Beatles? 'They' haven't even hit the #1 position. Survey #18 McCARTNEY's YESTERDAY holding steady at #5 and here come The Beatles again with the 'I'M DOWNless' listing of HELP climbing up one to #29! Survey #19 YESTERDAY drops to #8 while NO Beatles song is listed. Was this 'help' from The Beatles always going to be this minimal? I'm sure that KHJ management was counting on it! Survey #20 is also without The Beatles while PAUL McCARTNEY finally falls to #18. Survey #21 verifies a cycle starting to repeat itself. The Beatles are back as HIT BOUNDS with DAY TRIPPER/WE CAN WORK IT OUT...so count that as two listings...PLUS McCARTNEY at #24. 

Now, EXHALE! Survey #22 is finally devoid of ANY Beatles involvement...just like Survey #1. Can we...should we salute the beauty that had become the KHJ BOSS Top 30? After all, it had downplayed The Beatles in the most advantageous way possible. So, whatever the reason, the year of 1965 was a great year for the BOSS and all of the other talents that had graced the Top 30. The Beatles probably made everyone very happy as survey #23 reaffirms that this is going to be...ONGOING. The group emerges from nowhere at #5 with two songs listed as HIT BOUNDS the week prior...which of course neither were. It has been two weeks since they were HIT BOUNDS with DAY TRIPPER/WE CAN WORK IT OUT but, hey...what kind of difference can a week really represent? This party is just getting started! Survey #24 has both Beatles tracks taking up a single slot at #2! Since there may be symbolism in the numbers...Survey #25 will cover December 25 and for that eventuality, Santa BOSS has left two #1s under The Beatles' Christmas Tree. 

So, maybe we should bid them a Happy New Year and end this retrospective glance since 1970 was the end of The Beatles. Would KHJ need to be worried? Would BOSS Radio still be boss? Would KHJ be able to do this without The Beatles? If this road had been long and winding, would it be possible to just let it be? I think it must have been the only thing on their minds! If this all seems overly boring, just realize that radio is about numbers more than anything else. In that context...the end of the KHJ BOSS magic had begun!

1969 to 1970   Yandex    Zippy
1970 Part 1 (Jan-Feb)    Yandex    Zippy
1970 Part 2 (March-April)    Yandex    Zippy
1970 Part 3 (May-June)    Yandex     Zippy
1970 Part 4 (July-Aug)    Yandex    Zippy
1970 Part 5 (Sept-Oct)    Yandex    Zippy
1970 Part 6 (Nov-Dec)    Yandex    Zippy

Blank Frank: Ironically, beginning in 1970, the solo Beatles had far more KHJ chart hits!

1970 has been completely overhauled with about 70 music upgrades to original mono single mixes and/or sound quality and about the same amount of airchecks. Some of the quality of these aren't so good, but unfortunately, I had to take what I could get. Nevertheless, like with the other years, it plays much closer to an actual 1970 radio experience. Also, like the other years posted so far, there are quite a few rare mono mixes included. Prepare to be surprised!

Monday, June 8, 2020

The 93 KHJ-LA Complete Boss 30 - 1969 (2020 Upgrade)




Kwai Chang Essay - 1969:
I have not studied the KHJ BOSS Radio history. Even so, it is easy to see the entire BOSS campaign was built on calculated slickness. And yet, in the days of early BOSS, there was a naivete to it all that was a true apex in escapism ideals. Where television ends with the program credits rolling up...radio NEVER ended. It went wherever the listener went, and thus, could serve as a cultural sextant to navigate the labyrinth of mid-60's wide open air-wave horizon. 

So, how nice it was to actually CONNECT with the mechanisms that made KHJ 'boss' in the first place. Listeners already had confidence and trust in the stable of ultra cool KHJ personalities. The KHJ DJ characterizations made Hollywood legend biographies look like 12th grade journalism. The REAL Don Steele and his staff contemporaries made it all look so fun...made it all look so easy...and it all sounded so perfect. The blur was on...full stop! Why should it have anything to do with illusion? KHJ listeners were reassured that they were part of the medium...that they were included in everything to help realize radio's full potential. The station took phone-in requests that it used to survey the general public...follow trends...and to predict the next big-thing...and, to compile their weekly surveys. This would ideally reveal the most geographically local pulse in the entire industry...that of the music city: Los Angeles! 

How cool it was to be informed by experts. How completely hip to be in the center of the action?!? To hear great music for the first time was an honorable privilege. But, that's not all! When the listener decided the music was desirable enough to purchase, many of L.A.'s retail points of sale offered the current weekly KHJ BOSS survey in printed form...'FREE'! There was no purchase required to get a survey. These were a really decorative icing on an already beautiful cake. It was something EXTRA for the effort and served many a purpose for ANYONE listening to the radio. Surely, they appear to be a gratuity for the loyal listener finally making the empirical commitment with wallet in hand. But, look closer...these were just another piece of proof that KHJ had thought long and hard about L.A. radio dominance. These surveys appealed visually with bright color and design and layout. They connected intellectually as they informed the consumer of the most updated rankings of airplay rotation. They guided speculation for anyone willing to hedge a guess on what's-next. They informed socially about the voices(KHJ DJs) being heard around the clock in Los Angeles. They could be mused over at home while playing recent purchases. 

They also served the Top-30 the same way the racing sheet serves the ponies at the track. And when the week is over, they can serve as reference. But, most importantly...they were unique, attractive advertising that would last forever no matter how fast the week went by! That's some very clever public relations from any vantage point. And, if time already flies by too fast...these little pieces of offset lithography only made it go by even faster.
The blur was on and there was no better place to live life...naivete be damned!

1968 to 69   Yandex    Zippy
1969 Part 1 (Jan-Feb)  Yandex    Zippy
1969 Part 2 (Mar-Apr)  Yandex    Zippy
1969 Part 3 (May-Jun)  Yandex    Zippy
1969 Part 4 (Jul-Aug) Yandex    Zippy
1969 Part 5 (Sep-Oct)   Yandex    Zippy
1969 Part 6 (Nov-Dec)  Yandex    Zippy


BlankFrank: 70+ songs have been upgraded and about 50 + airchecks added. I scoured everything I could from the few airchecks I had. Once again, if you have the original, delete it and take this one. This revised version fits with the rest of the series! Like others in the series, this is every single song that entered the KHJ-LA Boss  for 1969 using original (mostly) mono single mixes if they could be located. There are many original mixes that have not been heard since the singles were issued.

This is meant to be played and enjoyed. I suggest listening in your cars on long drives. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The 93 KHJ-LA Complete Boss 30 - 1968 (2020 Upgrade)




KHJ 1968 (The End Of Mono)
Yes, it is a wonderful sensation to hear a song from the past...especially when it has been so long that it rings long-forgotten bells of youth. But what about when our favorite old tune sounds different than what we remember? Is this anything to be alarmed about?

The answer to that isn't so simple and might be based on where, when, and who you are in the chronological landscape. Music lovers are usually content to be reminded of a song that they love. Often this is based on emotion. But, times change, as do technology and physiology. And quite often, conflict can arise that is in direct opposition to what is natural, subjective, and objective. So, let us jump to the heart of this blurry predicament as heard in the early years of KHJ BOSS radio.

When the station began its campaign, the music industry embraced both mono and stereo formats. Many music lovers preferred the stereo sound and didn't mind paying $1.00 more for stereo LPs. At that time a mono LP retailed for $3.00 while it cost $4.00 for its stereo counterpart. However, the stereo demographic was quite small in terms of the popular music whole. This is because nearly all popular music was initially heard on the radio...and for KHJ listeners, that meant AM radio which broadcast its signal in mono. We have already spoken of gimmicks and whatever stereo really had going for it...it too was a technological gimmick.

FM stereo broadcasting was NOT the industry norm and so for entities like The Wrecking Crew and their engineers and producers, it meant extra work on any given recording. Since AM radio could not emphasize the gimmick of stereo records, it relied on their mono counterparts to provide this function. The radio business is about selling airtime for commercial advertising and it is also about selling music. The Music business certainly understood this as there was a huge amount of revenue to be gained or lost in how both formats were utilized. KHJ's weekly tally of airplay rotation had created the competitive atmosphere of being at a drag-strip on Saturday night, and if the songs acted out the role of race cars...'The Wrecking Crew' assumed the role of the mechanics/pit crews. It might have made no difference to the musicians but the producers were certainly under additional pressure to insure that both formats received their respective representation. Radio required the very best from the mono format. Retail required the very best from the stereo format. Radio needed a song to reach its airplay impact while the retail world needed to capitalize on the stereo gimmick.

And therein lies the rub. For mono is the ONLY discipline the music industry was ever to know. Mixing a song into mono was much more critical in terms of the production decisions because there is no forgiveness when the song is finally broadcast on AM radio. Conversely, stereo versions of the same song will sound different every time you change your location in relation to the left and right speakers. So, it is pure joy to have these early years of KHJ Top 30 as presented here. BlankFrank has endured the drudgery of collecting ALL of the tracks in their DEDICATED mono mixes. THAT is why many of these songs will sound different to the way we remember them from the past. It is unknown why the industry betrayed the mono format as the status quo. It worked so well for radio! It certainly helped BOSS radio realize its own objectives. It helped consumers justify the purchase of their favorite tunes as singles. The 7" retail unit was clearly the most profitable way to sell music. And it also connected more directly with listeners regardless of their willingness to buy music. It kept them listening and that's what mattered the most. Where consumer demand is the consideration, mono mixes guaranteed intellectual/entertainment value to every ear.

Let us cite a vintage example of this phenomenon. We need only play The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album to understand why the music industry might have been guilty of treason. The mono and stereo versions of the album are two completely different experiences regarding their respective audio dynamics. Why is this? It doesn't matter. The Beatles considered the mono format to be the precedent that mattered the most. So, when we see that they attended all mono mixing for the album...(2 months total) and that they did not attend the sessions for the stereo mixing(2 days total) we can at least see that this would lead back to basic business concerns. If the mono album was going to retail for $1.00 less, then perhaps the only alternative for the music industry was to throw the mono format off of the roof of a tall building. And, it didn't matter much to KHJ, if by 1968...the Top 30 was only available in stereo. To accommodate the radio industry, NO mono consideration would be forthcoming. The records would be offered in folded down mono promotional copies.

Did this take the punch out of the greatness of BOSS radio? Well, that debate is all we have left of the mono format. I personally prefer the mono mix of Sgt. Pepper. All the while, Steve Wilson keeps nailing nails in its coffin. It probably means nothing that Nature's own model offers NO creatures that speak in stereo. And yet, evolution provided most of the animal kingdom with two ears. All this means is that in Nature, there are NO gimmicks...only DIRECTNESS. Could there be too much directness in mono mixes to risk losing a retail price increase of 33%? Maybe! Will Steve Wilson ever mix Abbey Road into mono in search of a Sgt. Pepper-like version of the classic? We don't know.

Should radio even be allowed to influence such decisions? Well, the KHJ Top 30 was still running full tilt in 1968, and it was doing so without any say in the matter. They cannot broadcast or survey a format that no longer exists. Was there a loss in the directness in proportion to the massive increase in music production profits? Well, now we get to make up our own minds. Great songs, great music and BOSS broadcasting are still commodities to be embraced, but was the gain enough to make up for what was lost? THAT is a question that will be the only epitaph that mono will ever be able to call its own. And, since no entity can stand in the way of 'progress'...we can at least know that in every gain there is loss. And, in every loss, there is gain. And, so it was still BOSS radio...but it wasn't true mono ANYMORE! - Kwai Chang

1967 to 68   Yandex    Zippy 
1968 Part 1 (Jan-Feb)   Yandex    Zippy
1968 Part 2 (March-April)   Yandex    Zippy
1968 Part 3 (May-June)   Yandex    Zippy
1968 Part 4 (July-Aug)   Yandex    Zippy
1968 Part 5 (Sept-Oct)   Yandex    Zippy
1968 Part 5 (Sept-Oct)   Yandex    Zippy
BF Notes - This was supposed to be a simple update of my original post last autumn, Instead, it has been the most difficult of all of them, but, for now at least, it's my favorite and a HUGE improvement over the original post.

Thanks to the generosity of Faltonians and AYNCS readers, about 100 tracks have been upgraded to mono single mixes or upgraded sound. Many have never seen a digital release. It was pretty cool sometimes having a few versions to choose from. When I first compiled this set, I felt lucky to have the song!. Also, about 100 new airchecks were edited and added to the collection.

Some months are lean with airchecks, but much of this feels like you're being transported back to 1968 and getting the full 93 KHJ-LA experience. At 468 tracks and 17 hours +, it's also the longest in the series so far. @320

If you have the original version from last October, replace it with this.

1968, 69, 70, and 71 upgrades will get posted when completed. After that, 1972 and 73 are planned. Stay tuned and please be patient.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The 93 KHJ-LA Complete Boss 30 - 1967



The third in this KHJ series was completed last night and what a great year it was! By my count, all but nine songs are original mono single mixes. I had a lot of help from AYBCS readers, as well as a couple of Faltonians! I'm sending it out without having listened to all of it yet, Your comments are appreciated! 444 tracks and nearly 16 hours long. Every single song that appeared in KHJ's Boss-30 Survey for the year, with as many 1967 airchecks added in as I could get. Coming up next are upgrades to 68 through 71.

Commentary from Kwai Chang:
KHJ 1967(The Wrecking Crew)
Technology by definition must keep advancing...a never-ending sum of techniques, skills, methods, and processes in the effort to create new value.

Hence, a perplexing situation was that of KHJ in the quest to be BOSS! For all of the technical limitations of the late 1960s, radio was not immune to the effects of the primitive playing field which was nothing more than a threshing floor. In that regard, never before had something so business-like seemed like something so genuine in its essence...so everyday-lifelike!

And yet, we all know the first rule of business: If you're not bringing in more capital than you spend...you're NOT a business. So, it seems amazing that KHJ brought a flair to the world of radio and even more so, to the world of music than had ever been known prior. KHJ had no real advantage in the radio world. It was still becoming modern. It was in the process of being created and it was pretty simplistic in terms of risks, odds, vision! It was still trying to figure out what it wanted to be. This might be enough to keep a radio station busy even when objectives are practically realizing themselves. So, in KHJ's situation, things were going very much as planned. The project seemed to be devoid of monetary concerns when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

We needn't concern ourselves about the protocols of commerce. This was already part of the mechanism as The Beatles learned when Andy White was able to relegate the drummer, Ringo Starr, to tambourine at the sessions for Love Me Do. It is simply a matter of economics to never let investment become more of a risk than the situation requires. In the early years of KHJ, this was an unwritten rule that preceded all other considerations. It is not exactly clear where one entity stops and another begins...but in the radio world(...in BUSINESS) it's always about efficiency. This is apparent by the inserted advertisements that corporate sponsorship pays large premiums for. Broadcast slots are strategized and even more so, the commercials themselves are crafted by professionals who do nothing else but specialize in making you want to buy products.

In Hollywood, most of this work was sub-contracted out to The Hellers. This was the slickest team of gimmick creators who made most of the connections with the tuned-in consumer. We have never seen any amateur efforts on television when the programming breaks for a word-from-our-sponsors. It is common industry knowledge that our favorite television shows are only there to fill the space between the commercials. So, with that pretext in mind, we can only marvel at the clever finesse utilized by BOSS radio when their own airchecks were broadcast sounding very much(read EXACTLY) as if they were recorded by the current hitmakers in the TOP 30.

This was not the work of The Hellers...but, rather by a group of their contemporaries. In fact the collective didn't really have a name. They were simply a small group of musicians that worked 40 hours a week doing what they did best...providing musical backing tracks for very realistic sounding endorsements. However anonymous such a function could actually be, there was much more to this relationship than anyone knew.

We now know this elite team by the name The Wrecking Crew. The KHJ airchecks DID sound exactly like the Beach Boys had made it...because The Beach Boys records were actually backing tracks produced by The Wrecking Crew. Why would it...why SHOULD it be any other way? Music is a business and most of the BOSS Top 30 was created in this most efficient manner. In this way, the VERY best music could be created, broadcast, surveyed...and purchased. It isn't an accident...it is professionalism. It wasn't intended to be illusory...but it WAS a huge blur that kept everything running smoothly and profitably. Most of all, it made everything sound fun while captivating anybody who loved music, radio, or record collecting. It isn't clear whether KHJ and The Wrecking Crew were really separate limbs of the same tree...it didn't matter. Very few artists have the technical expertise to ever achieve stardom. We'll never know what The Beatles' own fate would have been had not Andy White been there for 'them'.

But a quick glance at KHJ surveys should reveal that current stars in the airplay rotation are really only singers...possibly only actors pretending to be music stars...trying to be loved. Probability gives better odds to those who know their own true functions. So, without dwelling on how the OTHER faces(band members) are selected to be on the record jackets...just know that NEVER before had so many been entertained by so few. This is why the music was so good in the first place and at least for KHJ...why they were BOSS!


1966 to 1967   Yandex    Zippy

1967 Part 1 (Jan-Feb)    Yandex    Zippy

1967 Part 2 (March-April)   Yandex    Zippy

1967 Part 3 (May-June)    Yandex    Zippy

1967 Part 4 (July-Aug)    Yandex    Zippy

1967 Part 5 (Sept-Oct)    Yandex    Zippy

1967 Part 6 (Nov-Dec)    Yandex    Zippy



Saturday, May 16, 2020

The 93 KHJ-LA Complete Boss 30 - 1966


Blank Frank Notes: 1966 is a fine, if not the best year ever. This 389 track 14 hour set compiles EVERY boss-30 song that appeared in the weekly KHJ-LA survey for 1966, in the order of its appearance. Some minor changes were made to accommodate airchecks, but they all stayed in the same survey week. Thanks to the help of Dave, Rory, and Kevin, the sound quality is outstanding and virtually all original single mono mixes, some of which have never been released since the original 45s were pressed. Thanks too for Kwai Chang for his essay and support/advice. Without their help, this collection would not have turned out as nice. Thank you all!! About airchecks, finding them in good quality and sufficient quantity was very difficult. They are what they are, but they do add to the overall KHJ experience.  I hope you're able to take this for your daily commute or listen on a long drive once we're all free of this quarantine. Surveys, tracklist, and essay included.

Kwai Chang - 1966:
To understand what radio was like before BOSS Radio is nearly futile because its creation was a well thought out campaign. The people responsible for its inception had a huge vision that was pure genius for it was clearly institutional in scope. It was as if Disneyland was a station on the radio yet, it was personalized to appear as though the individual listener could feel a part of it.

This is incredibly clever. It allowed for belonging on a constant basis...round the clock. It provided real personalities for the entire day with which the listener could identify and trust. It was a never-ending finger on the pulse of a genre that was clearly new and refreshing...new and colorful...new and ALIVE. As if by an undeniable force there was endless excitement from the once dead realm of radio. Forget the novelty of television...it had nothing so tangible for the modern consumer to do except the latent dormancy that accompanies catatonic immersion into the medium.

The beauty of BOSS radio was that it seemed fluid and constantly flowing. So much so, that TV was used as a self-serving gimmick that turned the television viewer into active participants as KHJ listeners. Contests were regularly held on KHJ that would offer prizes of meeting TV stars, visiting the sets of the productions, eating lunch with celebrities. So, you could be the biggest Batman fan on the planet...but, it would require a certain amount of radio participation to realize.

All the while, each KHJ Disc Jockey would use such promotions to continue building their own respective personalities into lovable identities that were more well known locally than Adam West or Burt Ward would ever accomplish. This is a heady accomplishment and may be based entirely on the irony that radio had returned from the dead. Was everything radio HAD BEEN before 1966 actually mundane and pointless?

By KHJ's game-plan, that assessment may be the only premise for the new format that exacted such sentiment. The BOSS Radio daily experience certainly made THE MOMENT the most important point on ANY chronology. 1966 was a very rich year for music. It must have been the most promising year of all for ANYONE that connected with the station...directly, or indirectly. That merely begs the question...was it better to be a KHJ DJ, or a KHJ listener?

THAT is just how good things were for everyone. The tinsel was everywhere...and everything was still new. Like a dream!!!

1965 to 1966   Yandex  Zippy

1966 Part 1 (Jan-Feb)  Yandex   Zippy

1966 Part 2 (March-April)   Yandex   Zippy

1966 Part 3 (May-June)  Yandex   Zippy

1966 Part 4 (July-Aug)  Yandex   Zippy

1966 Part 5 (Sept-Oct)  Yandex    Zippy

1966 Part 6 (Nov-Dec)  Yandex    Zippy













Friday, May 8, 2020

The 93 KHJ-LA Complete Boss 30 - 1965



After a five-month break, AYBCS has returned to continue this series of Los Angeles Top-30 tracks. In the beginning, I thought of this as the story of LA Pop music, but I've reconsidered and realized this is the story of KHJ's Top-30. So our story begins with the first survey from July 9th, 1965. Also, I scoured all the sources I could find and was able to insert airchecks between every second song. As this series continues, I'll try to keep this standard, but getting quality airchecks is very difficult.

So we have every song that appeared in a KHJ Boss-30  in 1965.  The vast majority are original mono 45 single versions. Also, each track is tagged with the survey where the song first appeared. Airchecks are on the other side of the survey for that week. This has been a labor of love and, I gotta admit, a very difficult series to compile. But with this you'll have the most complete view of what LA radio was like at the beginning of KHJ's reign. @320, essay, tracklist, and surveys included. Thanks to everyone who shared their time and collections to help make this project even better than I could have hoped.

Introduction Kwai Chang: 1965:
It must have been strange to watch television render radio obsolete. Radio had been good to the world. It's just that regarding the context of demographics, there is no loyalty to be found within American Consumerism. Gimmicks rule supreme and ANY gimmick is a good gimmick! So how long was radio ever supposed to compete with television when TV had the gimmick of moving images? 

Luckily, no one held their breath waiting for an answer. 

Perhaps, the real lesson of radio was to show us just how ANY advance in technology is really DOOM for all that came before it. Or, is there something much less obvious-- FAR more mysterious to be learned by the hastily available legacy with a bad case of eulogy-itis? Because, as RADIO lay deceased for the proceedings of February 9, 1964...the horizon unfolded itself into an omni-directional money grab led by anything sounding British along with a sublime sense of timing that was beyond the realm of human strategy. 

Depending on when you were born, and where you lived...RADIO was about to transform itself into many things...most of them unforeseen...and many of them inevitable. But, in 1964, Radio wanted to hold my hand. It is a situation that was culturally confusing that had assembled itself(or crumbled into) from the most simple events, chronologies, voids, supplies, demands, industry protocol, and some non-protocol innocence that slipped in at the very beginning. All of these things woke up CHANGED on the morning of February 10, 1964. The Beatles' would sell many 8-Crystal Transistor Radios while Capitol Records did the honors of giving the group structural support(manufactured retail units) and the rest of the world tried to hang on for the ride. For the next year, American boredom became overwhelming...it doesn't matter what breaks the spell. By 1965, it seemed like all music came from England...and, American radio found itself in a most bemusing position. 

Thanks to television, pop music was left with an orphan known as Top-40 radio. The bonus of this situation was much the same as Los Angeles' musical identity dilemma before The Doors became its pride. Radio would now be standing on a wide-open potential that could have gone in any number of directions. And since it was happening in Los Angeles, AM radio was about to turn from B&W to COLOR. 

At the end of the really great year of 1964...American radio found itself standing over a new commodity. A parallel to Hollywood's Tinsel-Town and all that goes with the silver screen was now a wide-open horizon...to be played out on the airwaves of Southern California. Just as Los Angeles had been a musical identity void prior to The Doors...this was, even more, the case in 1965 Los Angeles radio. But, childhood must end.

So, in that, it must follow that those of the right age and in the proper locations would be able to escape into a very real magic. No fictitious realities would impose themselves upon format radio...at least, not yet. But, that's because there was a very real need to chart the territory...and decide on a navigational course to start mapping. But, for the moment, a Boy-Scout compass would suffice. 

Modern music media, Los Angeles' Musical Identity, Industry Headquarters, Trend-Setting, Fast Lane Life, The Wrecking Crew, Radio Community Function, et cetera...AND KHJ BOSS Radio were ALL being born and learning to walk, talk, to dance and...to sing...

(Well, 2-out-of-4 ain't bad)

So, what? Quidnunc? How do the lyrics really go??? And did those feet, in ancient times, walk up on....Los Angeles in 1965?

Yandex

Zippy Part 1

Zippy Part 2

Zippy Part 3

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Doors - Boot Yer Butt Deluxe (Speak In Secret Alphabets Addendum)


Thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm for the last post Speak In Secret Alphabets: The Complete Doors recordings. Boot Yer Bett Deluxe completes their recordings - and also fills in many of the missing pieces.

I idea here is simple: use the recordings that the surviving Doors decided were worthy, which was released on Boot Yer Butt. The Deluxe version contains the COMPLETE bootleg, all in the exact date and order of performance. I'm posting this separately because these are bootlegs and though all of this is listenable, it is still far from the master quality of SISA. But, it's probably the best quality we're ever going to get.

Boot Yer Butt Deluxe is designed to fit with Speak In Secret Alphabets, so if you really want a deep exploration of, say, their pre-Light My Fire days or the final concerts before LA Woman, this is the place. Because it fits in with SISA, go ahead and add in including poetry and session recordings. It'll work.

234 tracks. 3 gigs. 22 1/2 hours long. All carefully chosen and taken from freshly converted FLAC files  This is the ultimate collection of The Doors' bootleg recordings.

Part One: YANDEX    ZIPPY

Part Two:  YANDEX    ZIPPY

Part Three:  YANDEX    ZIPPY

Part Four:  YANDEX    ZIPPY

Part Five:  YANDEX    ZIPPY

Part Six:  YANDEX    ZIPPY

Part Seven: YANDEX    ZIPPY


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Doors - Speak In Secret Alphabets: The Complete Recordings

Long story short, these are the complete Doors recordings in order of performance or release date

01 - Studio Master Takes (mostly 40th Anniversary remixes with unique non-LP/single songs added by recording date [if known, if not, best-educated guess])

02 - Studio Alternates (alternate unique studio versions not included in parts 1,3,4,5 or 6 by recording date [if known, if not, best-educated guess])

03 - Spoken Word (studio recorded or filmed poetry recordings, but also
has a demo or two)

04 - Singles (original mixes by release date)

05 - Stereo LP Masters (original mixes by release date)

06 - Mono LP Masters (original mixes by release date)

07 - TV Appearances (unique recordings that aren't lipsynced or live concerts by recording (preferred) or air date)

08 - Live Multitrack (professionally recorded concerts by recording date)

09 - Live Soundboard (live inhouse concert recordings by recording date. Could be amateurs with multiple mikes and a mixing board [like The Matrix])

10 - Boot Yer Butt Deluxe (an addendum with the complete bootlegs of those included on BYB, in the best versions I could obtain, set by recording date)In all, there are ten parts with (little or) no repetition. All parts are interchangeable and can fit together in any combination you choose. I hope this will be the final word on the Doors' recordings. I will add to this if more recordings become available. Personally, I like parts one and seven combined!

My good friend Kwai Chang has agreed to write an overview of sorts about this collection. Thank you Kwai, thank you JCC, and thank you to the kind folks at Mild Equator for their help.

Kwai Chang - Okay, let's cut through the tinsel here. Is there ANY way to write about The Doors that will make somebody appreciate what kind of privilege this collection really represents? Let's throw this suggested narrative down the well and see if anything splashes! I wrote this to get readers interested in a story that tells itself completely through music. This story has never been as thorough and entertaining as it is here. Please don't think I can even begin to tell the story of The Doors. All I am trying to do is get you to play ANY part of it. As you know, everything is connected. This will connect with that and versa vice. And, if it bears any resemblance to the fairy tale that Los Angeles has always been, rest assured that it won't have ANYTHING to do with Hollywood production hyperbole. Tear up your S.A.G. cards and fire your agent. This story doesn't use 8"X10" promo shots. It is fully organic and when the music is over, the last slice of The West will have found its real identity and, in that, its true function. That this happened at all falls upon the shoulders of the highest-ranking bohemian ever to hitch-hike 'that-a-way'. Hopefully, this collection will realign the Jim Morrison mystique in a new way that gives him some overdue respect. Should we find that he actually is part clown...then at least we know that the tale was indeed reflective...especially to those who were THERE when it began.

West...the final frontier: This is the journey of the last modern Ubermensch to emerge from a culture in need of ideas. In need of vision. His five-year mission--to believe in possibility and to go where history has tried to go but could not. To boldly go where culture might never have gone otherwise. To play this drama out on the last sliver of playing field that the world had not yet ruined with tradition and gun-powder...oh, James Tiberius! When a rear admiral goes home at the end of the day...is he really brave enough to stand up to his wife? Even when the prime directive is to set examples...to be a role model that the offspring could believe in...Jim must have been witness to some very upper-middle-class hypocrisy. When the search for verification leads to the Library Of Congress and a heavy lean is placed upon Friedrich Neitzsche then the rear admiral becomes a mockery of those highest hopes he had for his children. He might have even envisioned a family tradition branching out into military limbs of a lineage belonging to a new chain of command.

Jim Morrison might as well have seen himself as the last William The Conqueror...Lewis And Clark...Ponce De Leon...as he set out from Tallahassee to find enrollment at the film school at the University Of California, Los Angeles--EVEN if he really was THEM! We don't really know the particulars of his journey Westward, but we DO KNOW what he was wearing. The recruitment film short that he starred in at FSU found Jim wearing the two-tone V-neck sweater that would grace so many of his early Doors photographs. It was pre-leather and it suited the segue that was about to commence. It seems ironic that a Beach Boys existence, identity, mentality had already befallen the promised sand of the Golden State...but, then we could argue that Murry Wilson was actually a non-military edition of George Stephen Morrison. But, Southern California clearly needed a real mascot whose representation wasn't dressed up in any stereotypical self-parody of patriarchal guidance. And what it got was already very anti-hero...dressed in clothes from the other side of the mirror. MOST groups take decades to accomplish what The Doors achieved in a blur of five(6) years. They are the only group to ever make me wish I was born a few years earlier than 1960. The Doors were unsuspecting champions who never ever expected the victories that would lay before them. They also didn't deserve the harshness that would befall them by the time it was over. We cannot overstate the brevity of the timing involved here...in addition to location, location, location. This collection puts the group into a perspective that is prismatic and allows for refraction of very simple events that would double-helix into the complicated role that Southern California would assume as their direct result. The West is the best! Get here and we'll do the rest. So, let us start with the sun rising on a casual metropolis that was about to realize the Truth about the striped Beach Boys shirts and how much California Girls don't even go to the beach! Corny ends where reflection begins. Los Angeles needed to BE the last vestige of American Freedom...the only missing component was a persona to demonstrate that it already WAS. World Conquest was about to become finalized and when it was over, L.A. would be the world's trendsetting example...forever hence.

The Gateway Arch? Since 1967, that's the freeway interchange in Los Angeles where the 101 meets the 110, the 10, the 5...and is the REAL line where East ends and the West begins. It is where the movie changes from B&W to full color! To think that it really started in Florida(perhaps the most frustrated of the 49 other states) at least makes sense. First of all, the weather is almost as nice as Southern California...but, overtly sub-tropical. That means humidity...never-ending UNEXPECTED rain...giant insects/reptiles...a long way to California. If being born on a military installation could ever mean indoctrination for anyone...perhaps it meant that for James Douglas Morrison. His long wait for Destiny to call him West was over and there was nothing in the way except 2,250 miles of rich Smalltown, U.S.A. subculture(individual indigenous lifestyles). This is the timing that EVERYONE was waiting for, and Jim Morrison didn't even know it. It doesn't matter what the calendar said. There's a little vagabond in everyone...especially in a military ascent to higher rank. So, until now, this had been a family matter with liberal amounts of Kerouac and Nietzsche. What else could a poor boy do already without rank as the son of a Rear-Admiral in the United States Navy? Now, the vagabond element would be self-realized and the need for parents would evolve itself into nothing. So, without dissecting motivation or wondering what the scenery might have revealed...James Douglas Morrison headed West in January of 1964. Musical influence is secondary at this point. Los Angeles was in dire need of a symbol to represent its own frustrated predicament...and, he was finally...'en route'.

Did Jim ever actually hear Rick And The Ravens? Now, there's a predicament. The group was already a honky-tonk version of the Beach Boys and within that parameter, we can hear a basic foundation on which The Doors would build their trademark identity. But, Rick And The Ravens bore no resemblance to it. A few You Make Me Real piano signatures and more hand-claps than drums or guitar. Thankfully, the main Raven(Ray Manzarek) will be redeemed by all of his hard work in The Doors' precursor band. It was the only way to start this. Ray should be commended on his ability to remain confident. He really was the perfect springboard from which Jim Morrison could launch himself. It was going to take time for Jim to catch up to Ray...but it would be an incredible transformation. But, in 1965 when The Doors went to World Pacific Studios to record some proper demos, that transformation had not yet transpired. The six demo tracks confirm little more than the group was still searching for its own trademarks. Somebody is honking on the harmonica with a confidence that is beyond that of the vocalist. And the Rick And The Ravens' honky-tonk beat seems to have slowed to a gallop as if to give the double-track vocals room to develop a texture of its own. That strategy is not realized here even though Morrison seems to have a desired direction for his vocal style. It just hasn't matured enough to be distinctive.

So, it seems odd that the Ford Motor Company wanted the group to provide the musical landscape for a 25-minute employee training film(Love Thy Customer). Without knowing the logistics that resulted in this production...it is clearly worth acknowledging that The Doors as we know them have found plenty of signature definition within the accompaniment of 'Thy Customer'. The best part is that it is a fresh and new sound that has NOT been heard before. Both Robbie Krieger and John Densmore command their unique respective presences in the musical discourse. What we hear is the real arrival of The Doors...Los Angeles' own rock band. The corny piped-in muzak sounds that open the film are in direct contrast to this new sound and the effect is unmistakable. The social reasons for this might even be related but, it is pure speculation. It is worth mentioning that concurrently, a strange chemical compound was being touted as everything from a religious sacrament to a possible cure for alcoholism...to an artistic enhancer...to mind-manifesting...to mind-bending. The substance was LSD-25 and whatever its actual value or danger...it is important to this story. It was also completely legal at this point in the chronology. That it seemed to go hand in hand with The Doors' reverse vortex arrival on the scene is just the best timing ever to befall a huge musical void and the social dysfunction that was Southern California culture, as well. In the film, Love Thy Customer, we can hear (the first?) real psychedelic musical vision happening organically. Perhaps Ford Motor Company was hip to the sounds because of a clearly new objective strategy in employment efficiency. We just don't know. So, the idea that the L.A. street scene had things to offer is not so far fetched. Was it a new way of thinking? Was there real tangible newness to be found in the seemingly legitimate voice of Youth?

Well, when we understand the mechanics of star-making machinery, it seems impossible that ANYTHING could be the product of counter-culture, especially when riding the pretense of righteousness and fueled by perfect timing. And yet, that is exactly what we are witnessing here. By May 1966, The Doors were still playing The London Fog...what were the expectations of Paul Rothchild or Jac Holzman or whomever Elektra Records sent to check their potential? We know that The London Fog release of a few years ago, is absolute proof, that The Doors had become a real band. Each member was in full display of their respective chops and that those chops were beyond the typical ambition of all other local acts. Each of the band members were adept in their style and the interplay shared between them was a language all its own. Remember, too, that the music industry was already in the habit of providing The Wrecking Crew template to all things of commercial potential. So, with The Doors...how sweet was the sound heard by scouting label recruiters? The resultant debut album that Paul Rothchild was able to produce at the end of 1966 was absolutely brilliant on nearly every level. Released in January 1967, this is the effort that would propel the group, the music, the genre, the locality, the group unit, and individualism into the highest prominence ever known to Los Angeles. That the first single, Break On Through(To The Other Side), fizzled as the group's first time out...it was still the most perfect selection to usher in the group and the album to the scene. It also defined the absolute objective that The Doors never fully verbalized...but, which the music, was undeniably about. This was an album that proclaimed its own virtues as it was basically a themed affair. That theme being the mystery and hopeful influence that can exist in the psychedelic dynamic...and, ANY other paradigm related to music.

The music was unique unto itself...it defied any hopes of comparison to all that came before it. It made no use of simple sappy romance...instead honing the Freudian lyrics to a cutting edge made of non-ambiguity. Straight for the heart, this scope was of a consistent aim on any prey to fall into its cross-hairs. All lyrics are specifically lethal in a very living way. The sound of the instruments are all reactionary to the message of the words. This debut could have been titled The Chain Of Command, I Read Too Much, Libido On The Sunset Strip...or a million other relevant inferences to the subject matter within. But, it was called The Doors and on that angle, the group became Los Angeles' own local pride. If the music industry was really in the habit if inventing/cultivating pop music mythology out of any band on its 'way up', what must it have thought of Jim, Ray, Robbie, and John? They were a complete item requiring no fabrication on any level. They were their own creators and had held on long enough to get corporate attention. They wrote their own songs...played their own music...and, were competent enough to set up the equipment and do it LIVE in any venue. Let us reiterate: THIS WAS NOT THE NORM in the Los Angeles radio culture. Now, the only thing missing would be national acceptance and this was accomplished with the second single release.

Light My Fire was released as a single on April 24, 1967. Recorded eight months earlier, and whittled down from the album's 7:06 to just under 3:00...the timing was again perfect. By the time the single caught fire on the airwaves, enough album sales had occurred to ensure its, and the group's, longevity. The best part was that the song was the last song on side one of the album. This allowed for a saturation level of consumer listening to the first half of the album. The rest of the defining victory was nailed down via live appearances for most of 1967. This might have been the end of the mega-flash as touring is hard work. To hear the group's performance at The Matrix club in San Francisco gives no hint about what they had already accomplished or what greatness still lay before them. Amazingly, the group spent most of their off time at Sunset Sound Recorders from May-August. This in itself is not spectacular...however, the result would dovetail to cement The Doors' role as the pride of Los Angeles...and the best rock and roll act ever to get national airplay in the United States. The worst fate ever to fall upon musical acts is to debut yourself with a masterpiece...tour de force...something so good-- NOTHING will beat it! Sound like anyone we know? In Los Angeles, The Doors might not have noticed all of this critical theory about timing. They were pretty busy in 1967. But, they had some huge shoes to fill. They only had one album. However great it was, they might have already conceded to an inability to better it. Throughout the history of popular music, there have been many masterpiece debuts. But the rarest commodity is a BETTER sophomore effort. And in September of 1967,

L.A.'s very own rock band, The Doors...cinched immortality with the release of Strange Days. A vanguard offering that was the logical progression of the debut album that was only 36 minutes long. And yet, it was the perfect complement of the first LP and in so doing defines the psychedelic music genre in a very final way. There would be many releases through the '60s and early '70s by other groups...all using the road paved by The Doors. But, the Westward Expansion was over. The real estate didn't allow for it and neither did the genre, the industry protocol, and the Southern California lifestyle/culture. ALL roads would lead back to Venice the same way that ALL things British led back to Liverpool. In The Doors, Los Angeles indeed found a fitting mascot to represent the state of The Golden State. From this moment forward, all musical real estate would be occupied by hints of yore...and all that would be offered as new was really something already done...regardless of the refurbishing that preceded it. The Doors were the real thing. They were so good that nowhere but Los Angeles could have provided them the fertile substrate to realize all that they have given to us. The remainder of their career is anti-climactic. Despite the greatness of their future releases, they would most effectively symbolize the exhale of the year 1967. Certainly, there is the story of how Morrison was ready to throw in the towel after the first album. And, rightly so! If Los Angeles is anything...it is EASILY bored. That hasn't always been the case, but in the life of the last real anti-hero ever to call it home, it was simply a situation where everything has already been said.

Time to move outward towards bigger ripples. What else is there? We should have gotten the arty Doors on their 3rd LP. The Celebration Of The Lizard was Jim's next point of focus...and yet, Paul Rothchild was still the producer and industry protocol had finally gained a firm grasp of all things Doors! Instead of arty, we got political and we got leftovers. We even got stuff that was sub-par. These are the obstacles to face when you have released a debut masterpiece and an even better follow-up. The music was indeed over and it would take three more LPs to turn out the lights.

The FINAL redemption was when Paul Rothchild was bored by the early versions of what became the L.A. Woman LP. The band would go on to produce that final effort without him...while he was coddling Janis Joplin's Pearl album. Well, at least we know who wasn't an L.A. Woman. The Doors' last album was recorded at the downstairs rehearsal space of 8512 Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood. That was the hub of the group's existence as it was their official designated OFFICE(upstairs) and the only address ever given by Morrison as a California Resident. The building was at the intersection of La Cienega...also the location of the Alta Cienega Hotel(Northwest corner) where Jim often stayed. Further up the street, at the top of La Cienega is the Whiskey A Go-Go(at Sunset Blvd). All of the locations within a five-mile radius of the 'Workshop'. The L.A. Woman album brought the group to a logical finish line musically. It was a return to the Blues that had been their staple back in the beginning when they wanted to be as big as Love. When they weren't yet good enough for the Whiskey A Go-Go. When poetry was just a pastime and NOT yet a paradigm.

This collection by BlankFrank gives the entire story of the greatest band ever to come from the U.S.A.! You can finally realize how important The Doors were, how important Los Angeles became...and how important creative archiving always will be!
Any questions???
KC

Part One: Studio Master Takes 1 Yandex

Part One: Studio Master Takes 2 Yandex

Part Two: Studio Alternates  Yandex

Part Three: Spoken Word  Yandex

Part Four: Singles Yandex

Part Five: Stereo LP Masters  Yandex

Part Six: Mono LP Masters  Yandex

Part Seven: TV/Radio Appearances  Yandex

Part Eight: Live Multi-track 1 (68-69)  Yandex

Part Eight: Live Multi-track 2 (1-4 1970) Yandex

Part Eight: Live Multi-track 3 (5-8 1970)  Yandex

Part Nine: Live Soundboard  Yandex

Part One: Studio Master Takes 1  Zippy

Part One: Studio Master Takes 2  Zippy

Part Two: Studio Alternates 1  Zippy

Part Two: Studio Alternates 2  Zippy

Part Three: Spoken Word  Zippy

Part Four: Singles  Zippy

Part Five: Stereo LP Masters 1  Zippy

Part Five: Stereo LP Masters 2  Zippy

Part Five: Stereo LP Masters 3  Zippy

Part Six: Mono LP Masters  Zippy

Part Seven: TV/Radio Appearances  Zippy