Sunday, February 08, 2009

Remembering 1970s music

Yesterday as I cleaned house I listened to the 1970s station on satellite.

At noon, The American Top 40 with Casey Kasem. The show counted down the Top 40 records in the United States.

During the first 20 minutes of this rerun from sometime in the 1970s, Kasem gave a shout-out to "great radio stations like WFIR in Roanoke, VA".

Ah, yes. WFIR was the top music station in those days. It was not talk radio like it is now. It was an AM station back then too.

It rocked.

Here's a history of the station; it's the second oldest in the area.

On Sundays I sat in my room and listened to the American Top 40 on WFIR. Often I had a tape recorder running and I would tape my favorite songs to listen to at night.

The radio reception where we lived was pitiful when the sun went down, so this was a necessity if I wanted to hear these new tunes before I could get the vinyl. I suppose nowadays I'd have the copyright police after me. Definitely a different time.

Anyway, listening to those songs eventually led to buying the vinyl.

In the late 1970s the station changed its format. FM stations became the thing; K92 and Q99 became the stations to listen to. I still listen to Q99; I guess I have been listening to that station now for almost 30 years.

And of course I bought record albums.

In those long ago olden days, vinyl was king. You wanted big speakers and loud bass. If the record skipped on the player, you fixed it by placing a penny atop the needle so the arm would stay down.

There were many a night I spent in front of my record player trying to learn a song on the guitar, jumping the song back to whatever lick of rhythm I was trying to conquer.

Nowadays I don't hear a current American Top 40; I couldn't tell you what the "number one song in America" is today.

I listened to a mix of everything but mostly bought pop music albums. And disco.

My husband is an straight rock and roll kind of guy; when we married we merged our album collection. His was full of The Rolling Stones and my was full of one-hit wonders and southern rock.

Now we have all of these record albums and nothing to play them on, so I am always glad to listen to the songs of my youth on the satellite.

Nothing makes me clean like a good strong beat and a little rock-n-roll.


  1. Love an eclectic mix of music, not just rock, not just 50's or alternative... also a bit of classical. My ears seem to love it all.

    The Blue Ridge Gal

    (I miss having album covers to look at and read while listening to the music)

  2. My childhood station like this was WQAM...affectionately known as "The Tiger" Same progession (or perhaps, regression) happened in this market too. Those vinyl records were something, weren't they! Got all scratchy sounding. I used to love the 45s...would stack a pile of them on my little record player :-)

  3. lol, great memories! Our local AM radio back then in San Diego was 13K. Once a week a record store would print out pamphlets with the hot songs of the week and the lyrics to one of them. My friends and I would head to the mall every week to pick it up so we could learn the words,lol.

  4. My husband and I still have our extensive LP collection and have lugged them around every single time we move. We have an old turntable so every once in a while we listen to the old stuff. Ours is mostly from the sixties (my husband's era) and the old time folk and Irish music I used to love so well (and still do love some of it--the two of us together have a lot of Doc Watson). My kids think it's funny that I still refer to CD's as "records."

  5. I bought one of those old time looking cd players/cassette player/turntable/radio units just so I could listen to my old lps. I love it. I can't even find cds of some of the bands I like so this was a great alternative and well worth the money.

  6. I have about 150 albums and someday, when I have the time, I'm going to get a turntable and convert my favorite cuts to MP3 format and burn them to a CD so I can listen without the risk of further damaging the vinyl. Even satellite radio has its limits - there are plenty of cuts that I've not heard in 30 years!

  7. I love this post! I remember struggling to stay awake on Sunday nights so I could hear the number one song on the countdown. They never played number one until after 11pm. I had to turn my radio down so my mother wouldn't hear it.
    And I had a record player with a penny taped to the needle too! Mom bought it from a yardsale, and it was blue and white and it smelled funny, but it worked! Thanks for taking me down memory lane.

  8. I like all kinds of music but love 70s stuff. This weekend I was listening to Sly and the Family Stone, the Spinners, Bad Company and The Four Seasons. What a mix. I am craving the Bee Gees for some reason but don't have any.


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