The Beatles Save America (and Radio Bob?)

It was just about 50 years ago today (Feburary 7, 1964) that the Beatles flew into JFK and helped take the US through the tragedy of the  Kennedy assassination which had occurred back in late November, 1963.  They brought back fun, enthusiasm and life on a grand scale… plus their music was extremely “fab” as they used to say!

I was 13 back then and a total nerdo… but I liked music, I liked listening to the radio, and my dad had bought a used Voice of Music, tape-o-matic reel-to-reel tape deck on which I recorded every song that I heard. This old tape deck (at the time!) required constant tinkering to keep it running.  I even had to make my own drive belts out of string.

I listened to those New York City powerhouse AM stations WABC, WMCA and WINS.  I liked all the WMCA “good guys” and the WABC “All Americans” .  My favorite was “Big” Dan Ingram… I wanted to be just like him when I grew up!

I was even somewhat organized at the time and made 3 X 5 index cards showing the details of each recording.   I was also a pack rat (and unfortunately still am) and saved the file cards and the tapes!  So yesterday, I dug out them to try to find evidence of the very first Beatles song that I recorded … here’s the card:

My first Beatles recording

My first Beatles recording

Taking a photo of a card was easy (thanks to Nora Flaherty’s cellphone) but playing back the recording was not.  I had to find a functioning tape recorder (the station gave up on those 15 years ago) and get it into a state fit to play a 50 year old tape!  Cleaning the tape guides, aligning the heads, lubricating the pinch rollers, etc.  (These are the activities that kept me in beer an pizza for years working at the station!)  Finally, I threaded the fragile tape (I bought nothing but the cheapest tape back in 1964) and found this recording:

tape5 side2

It’s WABC DJ Scott Muni during his “Scotland’s Yard” airshift introducing the Number 1 Hit in New York!  Listening to this really brought back memories.  From holing up in my parent’s cellar with my radios and tape deck…. all the way to the present, when I’m holed up in my office with my radios and  tape deck.

The Beatles really shook up the music scene in the US.  “Beatlemania” was a real thing and somehow the “fab four” gave us teens a real shot of adrenalin, steering us boomers far away from our parent’s paths.  It was a fresh, liberating and fun experience.  We love you Beatles, oh yes, we do!

Plus Radio Bob got a 30 year career (so far) out of the whole experience… so thanks John, Paul, George and Ringo.


7 Comments on “The Beatles Save America (and Radio Bob?)”

  1. Martha Foley says:

    “ur” hand? Gee, Bob, you were all set for texting, way back then. And finally, nerds are cool.

  2. Pete Klein says:

    I sometimes managed to pick up WINS late at night in Detroit. WINS was my favorite when I moved to NYC and Murray the K was my favorite DJ in NYC at WINS.
    In Detroit, my favorite DJ was Tom Clay who lived next door to an aunt and uncle.
    What I most miss about those old time DJ’s was how they put on a show and always made sure to tell you the names of the songs and the artists.
    The first time I heard the Beatles I knew they would be big. They were so needed because Rock & Roll had been treading water for awhile with too much of what I called “bubble gum” music.
    Then came the Stones and the Animals. Then came Dylan and the music was great. Not so much now.
    Why not so much now? Basically, I would say it has become too commercial, too formulized.
    Thank god for classic rock. I doubt there will ever be classic rap or classic hip hop. Neither incorporate the history of music the way rock & roll has done. In the best of rock, you can hear shades of jazz, country, blues and even symphonic music.

  3. Hank says:

    What else is on that tape?

  4. Susan Serino says:

    Oh yes-Lots of memories! I grew up in Nanuet,NY-20 miles north of “The City”and used to take either a bus or the train to hang out in the”the Village” almost every weekend. By sheer luck I got tickets to see the Beatles at Carnegie Hall. This was actually their first concert in the US but you never hear about it.It was on either the Friday or Saturday before they played on Ed Sullivan. Absolutely crazy. Hysterical,screaming girls everywhere in and outside of the Hall and hundreds of policemen on foot and mounted-everywhere! I couldn’t hear the music at all. Those old AM radio stations were really pushing the Beatles by then.Who can forget Cousin Brucie. I was completely shocked and blown away by the whole experience-and I was one month shy of being”just seventeen”.

  5. Two Cents says:

    scot muni!! the sixth beatle!
    he dropped john and yoko’s name every chance he could later on in years….it was kind of annoying!

  6. Michael Greer says:

    What a fun show Bob. I’m very impressed with the quality of your old radio-recorded tape.I didn’t have a tape recorder, and had to memorize all those songs the hard way.

  7. I was 16 in 1964 so my connection to music was already permanent. Then the Beatles changed all of our lives. They opened the door to a whole new feeling and that provided inspiration to a generation that would come to be known as the “baby boomers”. The impact the Beatles had on us cannot be overstated.

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