Category Archives: Music et al

Johnny Preston Running Bear

Johnny Preston Running Bear

Johnny Preston Running Bear

On January 18, 1960 Running Bear by Johnny Preston became Billboard’s #1 single.

Johnny Preston Running Bear

El Paso

Running Bear was the second of three consecutive #1 songs in which someone died.  Preceding Running Bear,  Marty Robbins’s El Paso was #1.  Grateful Dead fans are familiar with that story:

From out of nowhere Felina has found me

Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side

Cradled by two loving arms that I’ll die for

One little kiss and Felina, good-bye.

Johnny Preston Running Bear

Teen Angel


The next #1 will be Mark Dinning’s Teen Angel.

That fateful night the car was stalled upon the railroad track

I pulled you out and we were safe but you went running back.

Johnny Preston Running Bear

Running Bear

For Running Bear, the two young lovers, separated by a river that was too wide, but their love forced them to try to cross and meet.

Now their hands touched and their lips met

The swirling river, it pulled them down

Now they’ll always be together

In their happy hunting ground

The song  has some interesting trivia associated with it besides its part in a consecutive death motif. J. P. Richardson, better known as The Big Bopper, wrote it.  Richardson had a hit of his own in 1958 with “Chantilly Lace.” He had died in the famous plane crash on February 3, 1959 in Clear Lake, Iowa, with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

Richardson thought the Romeo & Juliet theme of this song was too serious for him to record. He passed it on to his friend Johnny Preston, who originally was unsure about the song but others eventually persuaded him to cut it.

Richardson had done background vocals along with George Jones.

Johnny Preston Running Bear

Running Bear

Preston’s follow-up single, “Cradle of Love,” reached No. 7 on the Billboard chart.

In 1971 Jonathan King took the “Ocka Chunka” backing and added it to the B.J. Thomas hit song “Hooked On A Feeling.”

Preston died on March 4, 2011 >>> NYT obit

References >>> Song facts

Johnny Preston Running Bear
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Soviet Union Bones Music

Soviet Union Bones Music

Baby boomers grew up listening to the radio and watching TV just as their grandchildren are growing up with streaming and smart phones.

An interesting medium that has evolved is the podcast: a radio show, yet not on the radio. Downloaded and listen to anytime anywhere. Quite an advantage over traditional radio.

Sometimes, a group of podcasters form a collective to help promote and support their work. Radiotopia is an example of this type of collective.

Soviet Union Bones Music
banner for the Kitchen Sisters’ podcast, Fugitive Waves
Soviet Union Bones Music
Bones Music

Bones Music was the title of a recent podcast from Radiotopia’s Fugitive Waves (produced by the Kitchen Sisters).

It was not about these

Bones music

It was about this
Soviet Union Bones Music
x-ray made into a recording

…and I’m guessing you don’t recognize it. I didn’t either.

From the Kitchen Sisters:

Before the availability of the tape recorder and during the 1950s, when vinyl was scarce, ingenious Russians began recording banned bootlegged jazz, boogie woogie and rock ‘n’ roll on exposed X-ray film salvaged from hospital waste bins and archives.

“Usually it was the Western music they wanted to copy,” says Sergei Khrushchev, son of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. “Before the tape recorders they used the X-ray film of bones and recorded music on the bones, bone music.”

“They would cut the X-ray into a crude circle with manicure scissors and use a cigarette to burn a hole,” says author Anya von Bremzen. “You’d have Elvis on the lungs, Duke Ellington on Aunt Masha’s brain scan — forbidden Western music captured on the interiors of Soviet citizens.”

Soviet Union Bones Music

Purchase

Here’s a YouTube video by a vinyl record collector who found out about these x-ray records and was able to purchase one. He shows several vinyl records before getting to the x-ray type at about 6 min 15 seconds on the video.

I am only giving a brief overview about this type of recording and it’s historic background. I strongly urge you to listen to it >>>

Fugitive Waves podcast on x-ray recordings

Soviet Union Bones Music
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Los Angeles Whisky a Go Go

Los Angeles Whisky a Go Go

Los Angeles Whisky a Go Go

The Los Angeles Whisky a Go Go opened on January 15, 1964 .

Rock and Roll was gaining main stream momentum. The Beatles were about to arrive with their British invaders in tow. There were few places to regularly hear rock and roll–recorded or live.

The LA Whisky a Go Go was not the first ‘a Go Go, but is now the most famous. Others had opened earlier in  Paris (1947),  Chicago (1958), and Washington, DC (1966). These first venues were discotheques, that is, they played recorded music.

According to the Whisky a Go Go’s siteThe Whisky had to spell its name without the ‘e’ in whiskey because Los Angeles city zoning laws didn’t allow any club to be named after alcohols

Los Angeles Whisky a Go Go

Live music/Caged dancing


Johnny Rivers headlined LA’s Whisky a Go Go opening night with recorded music between sets.

The DJ (the club’s first was Joanie Labine) played records from a suspended booth and Joanie danced there during the songs. Her performance became so popular, that the club soon had other hanging platforms (“cages”) in which dancers performed.

The club quickly became famous for its music (rock ‘n’ roll), dancing (both  the go-go dancers and the patrons) and the Hollywood celebrities attracted to the club.

The Whisky played an important role in many musical careers, especially for bands based in southern California. The Byrds, Alice Cooper, Buffalo Springfield,  and Love were regulars, and The Doors were the house band for a while.

Whisky a Go Go

Los Angeles Whisky a Go Go

Complaints

Despite the popularity of the Whisky (or perhaps because of it popularity) and other Sunset Strip clubs, there were complaints about the noise, the gathering of young people, and traditional rock-phobia. LA officials passed a 10 PM curfew .

On November 12, 1966, fliers were distributed along the Strip inviting people to demonstrate later that day.

The Los Angeles Times reported that as many as 1,000  demonstrators, erupted in protest against the perceived repressive curfew laws.

And though the Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” is typically thought of as an anti-Vietnam War song, it’s a song written about those riots.

While the venue has had it’s ups and downs, the club continues today.

Los Angeles Whisky a Go Go
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