Hairspray
And this will be the last year you'll buy Hairspray by the case.

It’s October 1967 – You’re A Teenager – You Live In L.A. – Wolfman Jack Is Your Way Of Life . . .Or Not.

Hairspray

And this will be the last year you’ll buy Aqua-Net Hairspray by the case.

XERB – Mexico/Hollywood – Wolfman Jack – October 17, 1967 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

As much as you hated to admit it, just about everybody you knew listened to Wolfman Jack at least once a week. You know, because almost every day you would hear someone doing their “best” Wolfman Jack impression around Lunchtime. He had that kind of voice and everybody wanted to sound just like him. Why? You could never really figure that one out.

The thing about Wolfman Jack was, it was all about him and not so much the music. The music was great, and it was all over the map, but Wolfman Jack was always talking over it, so you couldn’t really spend much time listening to a song you liked before a nicotine-stained nasal shriek shot out of the air and straight into your psyche – it was him, letting you know where you were. And lots of blissful moments were never going to come back.

Personality radio – the airwaves fairly swam in it. And if you were a serious-minded 17 year-old, with the weight of the world on your shoulders and were in the formulating stages of cultivating a cynical view of the world, Wolfman Jack wasn’t quite your cup of tea. No. You were probably venturing over to FM radio and discovering KPPC – and you probably knew the long version of Buffalo Springfield’s Bluebird by heart. And you were probably changing the way you were looking. If you were a guy, you would be proudly pointing to the hair growing over your ears and getting “really good in the back” or avoiding the wary eye of the Boys vice-Principal who suspended you from school until you got it cut. If you were girl you were dumping all the hairspray you normally used in favor of “going natural”. Or if your hair was naturally curly, you were finding ways to get it to go straight, even to the point of dragging out your mom’s iron and straightening it out over the ironing board. And in your case, you were avoiding the Girls vice-Principal because she always carried a ruler and made sure skirts weren’t more than 3 inches from your knee.

Complicated living, your life as a teenager in 1967. It was going to get more complicated in many other ways as time went by.

So, in comparison, Wolfman Jack was really an okay distraction.

Here is a half-hour sampling from October 17, 1967 of Wolfman Jack via XERB, the station that broadcast out of Mexico, but had its studios on Sunset, right near Bullwinkle’s Emporium – you knew, because the station had a speaker in the doorway pointing out to the street and you couldn’t possibly miss it.


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7 Responses

  1. Steven Rubio says:

    You didn’t have to live in LA … I grew up near San Francisco, and we heard the Wolfman loud and clear at night. He was the only thing we listened to in the car, even if we’d moved to FM at home.

    • gordonskene says:

      XERB had something like a 1/2 million watts – it blanketed the country. I know people who said they could hear Wolfman Jack in New York.

  2. Mike Hagerty says:

    Gordon: Those people most likely heard Wolfman before December of ’66, when he was on XERF in Del Rio, Texas. XERB’s signal was big, but not quite that big—11 Western states, plus parts of Mexico (naturally) and Canada was the range.

  3. Bob Illes says:

    He was this mysterious guilty pleasure in the ether… but I guess it was inevitable that he would become so renowned and exploit himself (American Graffitti, Midnight Special), becoming all mainstream. haha. But hey if he was able to cash in, more power to him. I didn’t know about the speaker next to the Jay Ward building. I was living in south central LA, then going to USC when I’d listen to him regularly, not that familiar with BH till later. Thanks Gordy.

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