Saigon Vietnam Falls

Saigon Vietnam Falls

April 30, 1975

Saigon Vietnam Falls

CBS News report of the Fall of Saigon
Saigon Vietnam Falls

A lifetime of war

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 after World War II; 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)

Saigon Vietnam Falls

Gulf of Tonkin

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 given the momentum of anti-Communist fervor and our belief in the Domino Theory, we acquiesced and approved the escalation of our participation.

Saigon Vietnam Falls

Broken promises

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. 11 days later, police killed two students at Mississippi’s Jackson State.

Saigon Vietnam Falls

Reluctant removal

Finally, on January 23, 1973, Nixon announced that the US and North Vietnam had reached an accord to end the Vietnam War. Later that year, the Nobel committee award the Peace Prize to Henry Kissinger, our chief negotiator, and North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho. Tho refused the honor. 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 In January 1974, South Vietnam’s President Thieu declared the accords no longer in effect.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 Vietnam Falls

A Ford at the end 

April 1975. Nixon was gone. The Watergate Scandal had destroyed his presidency. President Nguyễn Văn Thiệu asked President Gerald Ford for more financing, we turned down the request. 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]

Related link >>> Fall of Saigon

Saigon Vietnam Falls

Radio Woodstock

Radio Woodstock

Radio Woodstock

Radio Woodstock

AM Radio

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

The birth of FM rock stations in the late ’60s rescued and weaned me from that non-stop barrage of advertising and rapid chatter. 

Radio Woodstock

FM Rock arrives

It may seem like FM’s wonderful days of diverse music and sensible DJ commentary are long gone, but like Mom’s adage 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 the 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. Its setlist was a lot like AM, but I didn’t know what was coming. 

A year later WOR decided that their DJs didn’t need 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 family 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

April 29, 1980

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.

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 the first festival in 2004. That festival was a single day with a single stage. Nowadays, the event typically has three stages and takes place over 4 days.

Radio Woodstock

Mountain Jam 2020…COVID’ed

In 2019 the festival moved from Hunter Mountain, to  Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and tried to return for 2020

The music you love is still out there. Like finding trouble, just go look for it!
Happy birthday Radio Woodstock!

Beatles Shakespeare

Beatles Shakespeare

April 28, 1963
Excerpt of Paul and John speaking parts of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” from the Around the Beatles TV special.

The many roads musicians travel are not necessarily the weed, whites,  and wine-filled ones that fans imagine. The 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, electronic media can 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 obvious and key part. John, Paul, George, and Ringo did not realize that dressing up and performing Shakespeare was also part of deal.

Beatles Shakespeare

Around the Beatles

The morning of  April 28, 1963 the soon-to-be-Fab Four showed up at Rediffusion’s Wembley Studios, London.  They rehearsed and did a radio interview before the show’s taping.

The “story” was supposed to be set in the Globe Theatre in the round, thus the show’s name.

Jack Good was the director. He would later give us the TV show Shindig!.

From the Beatles Bible siteThe 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.

Beatles Shakespeare
Ringo setting off 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.

The show aired on May 6, 1964.

Beatles Shakespeare

PJ Proby

Ironically, the person who got the biggest immediate media bump was American singer PJ Proby who performed “Walking the Dog” and “Cumberland Gap.”