KLIF – George Singer – Ted Field -November 28, 1956 –
1956 – a year where a lot happened in the world, not the least being Elvis. But while Elvis was topping record charts and selling in the millions, not everybody was to fully embrace Rock n’ Roll as a viable force to be reckoned with; not until the end of the year for most. There were still those who felt it was a fad, that it would be over in a matter of weeks, that it was somehow inexorably linked with crime and that it was bringing out the worst in America’s Youth.
Because of that, and also because The Teenage Market hadn’t quite become the dominant force it would be by the end of the decade, not every radio station in America dropped their format to become a Top-40 station. Kids were still in the minority and the older generation were still calling the shots.
This recording, an aircheck from radio station KLIF in Dallas Texas, was made the day before Thanksgiving in 1956. Judging from this 45 minute snippet, the most Rock n’ Roll entry of the day was The Theme from Baby Doll sung ecstatically by a wound-up Andy Williams. It was still pretty much mainstream: Pop ballads, inconsequential instrumentals and generally not very energetic stuff for the budding teenager to embrace.
The Disc-Jockey banter is much the same as it would be later on – only instead of going wild over Fats Domino, the frantic pronunciamentos were reserved for Teresa Brewer and Perry Como.
All this by way of saying Rock n’ Roll didn’t capture all of America right away; it was something that was going to take weeks if not months to get to every kid in America – but it eventually would. And things would never be the same.
Here is a sample of what Dallas was listening to on Wednesday morning, November 28, 1956.