Ever since Rock n’ Roll took American youth by storm in the 1950s, it has been an acknowledged fact that probably the majority of teenagers had visions of playing in a band. A cool band; a band where you could dress cool, act cool and get phone numbers. You spent every spare minute of every hour practicing – or listening, or standing in front of the mirror in your bathroom striking poses or combing your hair; checking to see if it was getting good in the back and what it would take to get that pompadour to stay put. And you had business cards printed – you were The Rebelaires, The Pistons, Johnny And The Deltas (although there was nobody named Johnny in your band) or “Me and Them” (if you weren’t terribly creative with names). And every weekend you, the drummer, the bass player, the rhythm guitarist, the sax player and the guy who couldn’t play any instrument but you had to include him because his parents had the biggest garage would practice and practice and practice. And you would run down the list of songs; Rumble, Apache, All Night Long, Gee Whiz (had to have the slow number), Bustin’ Surfboards, Keep a’knockin’, and anything else you just heard on the radio. You had a reputation – you played dances at your school ever since you won the Talent show. You had lots of friends.
But something happened and it happened around the beginning of last year; The Beatles happened on Ed Sullivan. And after that, The Dave Clark Five, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Manfred Mann and The Kinks. And all of a sudden, playing Gee Whiz (by The Innocents) just didn’t do that much for you. The radio was filled with all these new groups and they sounded nothing like what your band had been playing. And you wanted to sound like those new groups, but the rest of the guys didn’t. In fact, everybody but the drummer and the guy who didn’t do anything but have the biggest garage didn’t like those new groups.
And you had a decision to make.
And to get an idea of just what Top-40 radio was playing in 1965 – here’s a 1/2 hour snippet of KEWB, San Francisco (sister station to KFWB in Los Angeles) from December 19, 1965.
As always: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.