KHJ-AM/FM – The Real Don Steele – July 4, 1968
July 1968. By a lot of accounts, it was a pretty terrible year – and it was only half over. You were right in the middle of Summer. The year started and the Vietnam War suddenly went out of control – the draft quotas were shooting up. If you were a certain age; not old enough to vote, but old enough to get drafted into either the Army or The Marines, you had something to worry about. You heard stories – you heard about the Westwood Draftboard being desperate because they couldn’t fill their quota because of UCLA right down the street and all the Student Deferments. You heard they were taking guys with one leg shorter than the other – you heard about guys taping nickels to their chest because they heard it showed up as Tuberculosis on X-rays. You graduated in June – you turned 18 in May. You got your notice to appear just a few days shy of the 4th – nothing much to celebrate about. Westwood is where your Draftboard is. And then you heard Martin Luther King was shot and riots broke out – and you were volunteering at the Robert Kennedy For President headquarters on Wilshire, stuffing envelopes and calling people. And you wound up at The Ambassador Hotel on election night, and it turned into chaos. And it’s still Summer.
Yeah – and the year is only half over.
The only thing that’s saving you from going insane is music – and your radio. Music is the glue that’s holding you together and your radio is the thing that’s keeping the music going. You aren’t crazy about all of it, but you’re glad it’s there. Your girlfriend got accepted to a college back East. You aren’t sure where you’re going just yet if, by some miracle, you don’t get drafted. So even if you don’t wind up in the Army or the Marines your girlfriend will be 3,000 miles away someplace – you aren’t optimistic.
Not what you had planned, but at least there’s Boss Radio and The Real Don Steele and life can’t be all that rotten, at least for three hours. It’s still Summer, the year is only half over – anything can happen.
Here’s a little over 2 hours of The Real Don Steele, exactly as he was heard on July 4th 1968 from KHJ.
Distractions then – distractions now. Crank it up and enjoy or be reminded. 18 was tough, no matter when.