Saigon Falls

Saigon Falls

April 30, 1975

Saigon Falls

CBS News report of the Fall of Saigon

           For some, the Vietnam War had been their entire lifetime. For far too many, the war was the end of their life.

           If you were born in the late 50s or early 60s, by 1975 you were a teenager who'd heard about Vietnam as long as you could remember. Perhaps you knew a friend or neighbor whose name would one day be on the Wall in Washington, DC.

           Few understood even in 1975 that Vietnam had been a French colony promised independence.  That the French had reneged on that promise and how on September 2, 1945 Ho Chi Minh had declared Vietnam's independence. The first lines of his speech repeated verbatim the  second paragraph of our own Declaration of Independence. (see History matters site)
           The Gulf of Tonkin may have been the first time we heard the word "Vietnam" when our President Lyndon B Johnson stated that the North Vietnamese had deliberately attacked our ships. It turned out that there was no attack, but the momentum of anti-Communist fervor and the belief in the Domino Theory escalated our participation.

           Johnson left office because of the war.

           Richard Nixon promised he'd end the war. He did, but only after escalating the war and invading Cambodia in 1970. American college campuses erupted in protest. The Ohio National Guard shot and killed four students at Kent State University. Two other students at Mississippi's Jackson State were killed by police. 
           Finally, on January 23, 1973, Nixon announced an accord had been reached to end the Vietnam War. His chief negotiator, Henry Kissinger, and North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, but Tho refused because though the war may have ended for Americans, it hadn't for the Vietnamese.

           American aid dwindled and later in 1973 the North and South resumed fighting. In January 1974, South Vietnam's President Thieu declared the accords no longer in effect. 

           North Vietnam forces advanced south, and by the spring of 1975 were nearing the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon. 

Saigon Falls

           Nixon was gone. The Watergate Scandal had destroyed his presidency. President Thieu asked President Gerald Ford for more financing, but was turned down. On April 21, Thieu resigned and gave a speech accusing the United States of betraying South Vietnam and Kissinger for signing a treaty that brought about his country’s defeat. 

           North Vietnamese troops overran Saigon on April 30, forcing South Vietnam to surrender and bring about an end to the war. (see NYT article]

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Radio Woodstock

Radio Woodstock

Radio Woodstock

Happy birthday to you!

April 29, 1980
            I grew up in the 50s and 60s listening to New York City's pop radio stations WINS-AM (Murry the K), WABC-AM (Cousin Brucie), and WMCA-AM (B Mitchell Reed). In the hope of avoiding another advertisement and finding a hit song,  my constant switching of stations drove my parents crazy.

            For we Baby Boomers the birth of FM rock stations rescued and weaned us from that non-stop barrage of advertising and rapid chatter. 

            It may seem like FM's wonderful days of diverse music and sensible DJ comments are long gone, but like Mom's warning that if we "go looking for trouble, we'll find it," if you go looking for radio stations that still provide that  satisfying mix of old, new, borrowed, and blue, you'll find them.

            And with today's access to the internet, that search is not limited to a 30-mile circumference around your ears.
           During the early summer of 1966, I saw a billboard about a new station. An FM station. WOR-FM. I found it and thought I'd found radio heaven, particularly since for the first few months of its existence there were no DJs...union issues. Just song after song after song. It set list was a lot like AM, but I didn't know what was coming. 

            A year later WOR decided that their DJs should have less choice. One of them, Rosko, resigned on the air. Shortly later he moved to WNEW-FM which had become the station of choice for most Boomers seeking radio nirvana. 

            WNEW-FM and its amazing team of DJs are gone, but Woodstock Radio (located in Bearsville, NY -- why is it that so many "Woodstock" things aren't actually in Woodstock?) is a great choice today.

Radio Woodstock

            WDST first aired on April 29, 1980 and described itself as  "public radio with commercials". Though CHET-5 Broadcasting bought the station in 1993, Radio Woodstock continues to provide a great mix of music with DJs who don't get in the way, but still have a voice.

2014 WDST interview with Avett Brothers at Mountain Jam

Radio Woodstock
Avett Brothers interview on WDST at Mountain Jam 2014
            In keeping with its famously known name associated with the Woodstock Music and Art Fair (held in Bethel, NY, not Woodstock, NY), WDST celebrated its 25th anniversary with the first Mountain Jam. Held every year since that first festival in 2004. That festival was a single day with a single stage. This year's event will have three stages and take place over 4 days.

            Some of the artists for this year will include Beck, Wilco, The Avett Brothers, Gov't Mule (Warren Haynes helped found the event and has played every year), Umphrey's McGee, Gary Clark Jr., Brandi Carlile, Courtney Barnett, and many many more.
            The music you love is still there. Like finding trouble, just go look for it!
Happy birthday Radio Woodstock!

Around the Beatles

Around the Beatles

April 28, 1963

Excerpt of Paul and John speaking parts of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” from the Around the Beatles TV special.Around the Beatles


          The roads that musicians travel are not always what fans may think. A key to breaking through is exposure. Performances night after night can fine tune a group's show and songs, but small venues provide small audiences.

          True in the 60s as it is today, media reach far more ears and eyes than those nightly gigs. Given the chance, a group will jump, however reluctantly, onto whatever opportunity presents itself.

          So it was for the Beatles.

          Being able to perform songs was the key part. Dressing up and performing Shakespeare was part of deal.

Around the Beatles

          It was the morning of  April 28, 1963 that the About-to-be-fab Four showed up at Rediffusion's Wembley Studios, London.  They would rehearse (and do a radio interview) until the show  would be taped.

          The show was supposed to be set in the Globe Theatre in the round, thus the show's name.

          From the Beatles Bible site: The Beatles took part in two segments in the show: a musical set and a spoof of Act V Scene I of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison also mimed a trumpet fanfare at the start of the show, before Ringo Starr appeared with a flag to set off a cannon ball. The group also introduced PJ Proby's performance.

          For the Shakespeare spoof, Lennon took the female role of Thisbe, McCartney played Pyramus, Harrison was Moonshine and Starr played Lion. Incidentally, McCartney later owned a cat he named Thisbe.


Around the Beatles
Ringo setting of the cannon at the show’s start
          The Beatles lip-synced Twist And Shout, Roll Over Beethoven, I Wanna Be Your Man, Long Tall SallyCan't Buy Me Love, and did a medley that included: Love Me Do, Please Please Me, From Me To You, She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand. They closed with their cover of the The Isley Brothers' Shout, the only time their performance  of the song was recorded.

  • Related link >>> Beatles Bible site
  • Related link >>> Wikipedia entry
  • Related link >>> Dangerous minds site