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One of the very best radio air personalities of all time has died. Dick Summer was a true pioneer. He was the master of mixing music, humor and storytelling. If you listened to Dick Summer, you felt like you were listening to a friend. He was that same person off the air. He loved helping people.

No matter what your vocation is, there’s always someone in that business that you learn from and look up to as you launch your career. For me there was more than one, but the DJ who had THE MOST influence on me was Dick Summer. In my book “Confessions of a Teenage Disc Jockey” I relate how much his all night radio show on WBZ in Boston was such a major reason for me to decide to get into radio. I was convinced that radio was not only something that I wanted to do, but could do by learning from his delivery.

The Vanilla Fudge Featured

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When this new group called Vanilla Fudge came into the Electric Factory from Long Island, NY to play on March 7 & 8, 1968, they were as young or younger than most of us who attended the concert. They made an immediate sensational impact with musical skills.

They were riding the crest of their huge hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ on”. Their cover of The Supreme’s hit. It has been said that the idea for creating a slowed down version of the song was born when members of the band members were at a party. Someone accidentally played the original hit version of the song at the wrong speed. The idea for a new hit was born.

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One of the co-founders of The Allman Brothers, Dickey Betts has died at age 80. His manager made the following statement:

"The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader and family patriarch was at his home in Osprey, Florida, surrounded by his family,” he said in the statement. “Dickey was larger than life, and his loss will be felt worldwide. At this difficult time, the family asks for prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days. More information will be forthcoming at the appropriate time."

A Trip To The COBRA Featured

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My friend Martin Nan, who lives in Amsterdam, made a trip to COBRA to see the exhibit by the famous Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn. His photos of many rock stars are famous but he has also done many fashion pictures for magazines like Vogue as well.

The title of the exhibition is “MOØDe” (mood + mode, which is Dutch for fashion). The two worlds come together in a photo of Johnny Cash carrying Kate Moss (Nashville, 1994). COBRA stands for COpenhagen, BRussels, Amsterdam – abstract art movement round 1950.

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No, this isn’t a story about gambling. This is about a very important part of music history.

You might have to be of a certain age to even know what a Jukebox is. They are hard to find in public places these days, but once they were vital to popular music.

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Dire Straits had a huge hit with their song “Money for Nothing”. It’s so easy. All you have to do is pick up a guitar and you’ll go far.

What Mark Knopfler, who wrote the song, doesn’t sing about is just how long it took him to reach the top of the mountain of success. He was already over thirty when the song made it big. He’s not the only one who had to struggle for years to make a “mark” in music.

You can go all the way back to the beginning of Rock and Roll. Chuck Berry and Bill Haley, two of the early pioneers, both were singing songs that were popular with teens while they themselves were in their thirties. Both changed their style before finding a niche for themselves.

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Many are glad to see the year 2023 fade away. For many, it wasn’t the best of years.

However, music fans may look back on this year as the year of some of the best Rock music in many years. Just when many were predicting that most artists were not even going to bother making new records, we had an avalanche of new releases. And it was more than The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Dolly Parton who released memorable music during the year.

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“Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” is one of Billy Joel’s most popular songs. The inspiration for the epic saga of Brenda and Eddie is said to have been a real Italian Restaurant. Having dined at the eatery that apparently was the catalyst, it is hard to imagine how it sparked any ideas. Certainly nothing fancy about it. It is just like so many other such places that serve the traditional Italian favorites. Perhaps that is exactly why.

The lengthy story telling song is a favorite for several reasons, but the tale of the high school sweethearts certainly is relatable. Everyone can relate to the main characters Brenda and Eddie. Every high school has a couple that were on top of the popularity totem pole. Sometimes they do get married and live happily after. Often that is not the case.

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Recently I was asked to be part of a panel that was commissioned to talk about 100 years of Philadelphia radio for Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia lunch. Since none of us on the panel were even born when radio started (my father wasn’t even born yet), we concentrated on a more recent past history.

At one time radio was not only the number one source of entertainment in Philadelphia and elsewhere, but it was also the only real one that was in just about everyone’s home. The radio stations had a variety of music, sports and regular shows that featured comedy, mystery, and adventure stories. These shows all required the person listening to, not only paying attention to, but also to use their imagination.

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Are you ready? Cue the trumpets for a fanfare. Rolling Stone Magazine has announced their new list of the top 500 songs of all time. Like nominations to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there are bound to be many lively discussions about who and what made the list.

Almost everyone will find fault with the list in some fashion, but let’s take a little closer look anyway. One might very well say, I wouldn’t not have picked these songs. However, it has been 17 years since the last time Rolling Stone took a survey of a cross section of writers and musicians (including some Classic Rock stars) to compile their list. There’s no way you would have made the same selections this year as you would have made back then. There are bound to be a lot of changes.

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The other day a headline “Why do Old People Hate New Music?” for a story in Psychology Today caught my eye. With a headline like that, the story had to be read.

The premise of the story was that older people often turn up their noses at new music because they think it is nothing but noise or it all sounds the same. The article went on to present evidence that our brains lose the ability to accept new music because as we age the part of the brain than enables us to make the subtle distinctions between different chords, rhythms and melodies starts to fail. This gives us the impression that all new music sounds alike.

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Back in the 50’s the Philadelphia based group Danny and The Juniors had a hit record with their song called “Rock and Roll is Here to Stay”. At the time, Rock and Roll was considered a fad and only music for teens. It was their soundtrack for their years to rebel against the establishment as well as their parents.

The establishment fought back. Preachers called for the burning of the devil’s music records. Mayors of many cities banned having Rock and Roll concerts. Predictably, instead killing of the music, it only added fuel to the passion of the young music lovers.

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Performer Category - honoring bands and solo artists who, in their careers, have created music whose originality, impact and influence has changed the course of rock 'n' roll:

• Jay-Z
• Carole King
• Todd Rundgren
• Tina Turner
• Foo Fighters -- Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and Pat Smear
• The Go-Go’s -- Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin

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