KNBR-AM/FM – August 9, 1968 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Not everybody you went to school with liked Rock. There were some who were Classical fanatics who would pretend to be sick whenever you mentioned The Rolling Stones. There were others who never quite left 1963 and were still singing Tom Dooley during lunch. But there were those others who were really not made for the times and who somehow wound up getting their musical signals scrambled. Those were the guys who hated Top-40, never caught on to Folk, didn’t like Classical either, but knew every Percy Faith record by heart. They were seriously into Roger Williams and confessed to having accidentally dialed KYA when they played a Sergio Mendes record from time to time and loudly complained about it.
The strange part is; looking at them, you’d swear they had at least one Beatles album in their collection, or had seen The Grateful Dead at least once. You live in San Francisco, for god’s sake – you can’t walk down the street without hearing White Bird or Pride Of Man coming out of a passing car or over a storefront speaker.
No – never heard them. Don’t know who Quicksilver Messenger Service are – don’t care. They’re 17 and have the musical taste of 30 year olds. But in that vast tent of music and Popular Culture, there was plenty of room for everyone – and even the ones who liked, what was sneeringly called “elevator music” at times, that had fans too. Lots of them.
And maybe radio stations like KNBR in San Francisco, or KMPC in L.A. played, maybe not really elevator music, but played music that wasn’t too outrageous, or beat-laden and was decidedly softer in tone while still trying to be hip and groovy had legions of fans because of it.
You probably didn’t spend a whole lot of time listening to what was eventually called Middle Of The Road but if you did, more than a few of these songs will ring bells, and most likely haven’t been heard in the over 50 years since they first hit the airwaves. This was 1968 and stories about the upcoming Republican Convention pop up as do lots of cigarette commercials. We smoked a lot back then – everybody did.
Everything was up in the air at the time – it was all looking for a home. No matter how unlikely the recipient was.
You can like Roger Williams now – and you can show everyone your Percy Faith albums.