Thursday, November 20, 2008

Welcome Back

WTIT Tape Radio has always been about the music and our comedy. Our blog, however, is all about our slightly warped humor. I am not sure if I have ever devoted a spot in this space to a single artist. There was a story in the Hartford Courant today about Yusuf Islam. The column not only caught my attention, but also allowed me to get some insight of what an incredibly talented recording artist did at the peak of his career. He just walked away in 1978, while on top. I always wondered why Yusuf did that. Oh, you might remember his stage name. It was Cat Stevens.

“Father and Son”, “Wild World”, “Peace Train” (almost like a Peace Globe, Mims.), “Where Do the Children”, “If You Want to Sing Out”, “Oh Very Young” are just a few of the fabulous songs he wrote. Some songs like “The First Cut is the Deepest”, have been covered by rockers like Rod Stewart and Sheryl Crow. I was a DJ (not just a WTIT DJ, I was in radio back then) and Cat Stevens stated he had become a Muslim and stopped his music. At the time he stated that he felt he could not do both, explore his new-founded (1977) religion and continue to be a performer. Poof. He was gone.

The last couple of times I heard of the singer, (born Steven Demetre Georgiou and raised Greek Orthodox) were right after 9/11 and when Dolly Parton was on The Daily Show with John Stewart. After 9/11 Yusuf was outspoken in his condemnation. Ironicly, he was put on our national “no fly” list. In 2004 he was refused entry into the United States. Dolly Parton did a “duets album" and while Yusuf did not sing with her, she covered a song of his and he played guitar on it.

Close to thirty years later, Yusuf is back. He recently recorded his first rock album since 1978. It is called “An Other Cup”. I have not heard it yet, but I probably will at sometime today. Amazon has a very good interview with him and he sings a bit of “Peace Train” and one of the new songs. He sounds great. Click here to watch the interview and preview the album. It took him a very long time to realize you can be both religious and commercial. I have read a ton of accounts of this story after I put down the paper.

I am not sure if I still fully understand how the former Cat Stevens could just walk away. It really does not matter. Yusuf said his one goal is to help bridge understanding between the Muslim world and the West. He still talks mostly about peace. He is also talking about a tour. Trust me, if it comes to the northeast, I will be there. It is nice to have him back. Welcome back, Yusuf.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by on a busy Friday!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

WTIT Time Machine Goes to 1969

The WTIT 1969 Staff Picture

The WTIT Tape Radio Blog got tagged by Sanni of Coffee 2 Go to do a Musical MEME Wayback-Machine.

The rules:

2. Pick the year you turned 18.

3. Get yourself nostalgic over the song´s of the year

4. Write something about how the song affected you.

5. Pass it on to 5 more friends

1969 was the year I turned 18. Uncle Sam thought it would be good to have a draft lottery. The prize? An all expenses paid trip to Vietnam. I did draw a number I believe in the 270’s, beyond the draft exposure. I went to college and would have been deferred to at least 1973 anyway. In 1969 I graduated from high school on June 3rd. I entered Emerson College in the fall. My high school girlfriend told me “God told her to break up with me.” What could I do? You don’t argue with God. While I struggled academicly in high school, I did very well (Dean's List) at Emerson.

These were the # 1 hit singles in 1969 according to Billboard.

December 14, 1968 - January 31, 1969: - I Heard It Through The Grapevine - Marvin Gaye. One of the best all time Motown songs, Gladys Knight would cover it, as well.

February 1 - February 14: Crimson And Clover - Tommy James & the Shondells. At WTIT we loved this song so much, that if we driving as a group in two or more cars, we’d pull over to tell one another which rock station was playing it.

February 15 - March 14: Everyday People - Sly & The Family Stone. Sly Stone would wind up a rather tragic figure. He and his family were at their peak in 1969.

March 15 - April 11: Dizzy - Tommy Roe. A “bubblegum” song I loved, BC. Before college. Then I learned about REAL music.

April 12 - May 23: Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures) - The 5th Dimension. From the broadway musical “Hair”. A combo of two of its songs that had really nothing to do with each other.

May 24 - June 27: Get Back - The Beatles (with Billy Preston). Recorded on the roof of Apple records. “I want to thank you on behalf of the group and meself, I hope we passed the audition.” John Lennon

June 28 - July 11: Love Theme From Romeo & Juliet - Henry Mancini. From the sappy movie. WTIT spoofed the movie and called it “Another Love Story”.

July 12 - August 22: In The Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) - Zager & Evans. A silly Sci-fi pop song.

August 23 - September 19: Honky Tonk Women - The Rolling Stones. When WTIT counted down the best selling songs in Hartford for 1969, this was number one.

September 20 - October 17: Sugar, Sugar - The Archies. A comic book band? Yuk. Huge hit, however.

October 18 - October 31: I Can't Get Next to You - The Temptations. The Temps at their best.

November 1 - November 7: Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley. Elvis was so…50’s.

November 8 - November 28: Wedding Bell Blues The 5th Dimension. Why wouldn’t Bill marry her?

November 29 - December 5: Come Together - The Beatles. I can’t add anything here.

December 6 - December 19: Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) - Steam. Destined to become a sports song. At the end of games, you still hear it on occasion.

December 20 - December 26: Leaving On A Jet Plane - Peter, Paul & Mary. Did she ever return?

December 27, 1969 - January 2, 1970: Someday We'll Be Together - Diana Ross & The Supremes. This song ended the run of the most popular Motown women’s group. What a run they had.

Best Picture Oscar of 1969.
Top News Stories of 1969
January 1969 Richard Nixon sworn in as president.
The worst until George W.
July 21, 1969 Neil Armstrong walks on the moon.

One giant step.

August 1969 Sharon Tate murdered by Manson cult.


Anti war demonstrations.

I marched for peace in Washington. I marched for peace in Boston. I am a patriot and I love my country. We did not learn our lesson in 'Nam about civil wars. We have got to get out of Iraq. Put up your Peace Globe!

November 26, 1969 - Lottery for Selective Service draftees bill signed by President Nixon

Burning a draft card.

A list of the top 5 popular albums from the 1969 Billboard charts includes title and artist.


1. IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA Iron Butterfly

2. HAIR Original Cast

3. BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS Blood, Sweat & Tears

4. BAYOU COUNTRY Creedence Clearwater Revival

5. LED ZEPPELIN Led Zeppelin

That was 1969. Thanks Sanni for asking
me take the walk down memory lane. The WTIT Tape Radio Blog returns tomorrow. See you tomorrow.
Same time. Same blog.

Friday, May 30, 2008

WTIT Top 15 Male Rockers

WTIT Tape Radio Blog brings you today our feature A DJ’s Take on "Best of" lists. Last week we premiered this feature with the Top 15 Female Rock Singers of all time. Today we will bring you the boys. Please feel free to “take this feature" and do it as a meme to present your opinions. Today, we will share with you our picks for the Top 15 Male Rock Vocalists of the rock era. We will do R&B singers in the future. We will give you the artist and our favorite song of theirs. Let’s cue up today's A DJ's Take!

15. John Kaye. The lead singer in Steppenwolf has a great set of pipes. In his era, there were not a lot of better male crooners. The interesting thing about this great rock band of the late 60's and early 70's was how badly they performed live. Though I never saw the band, anyone I knew who did regretted spending the cash. I do own their double live album and it sucks. Kaye's voice was never the problem.

Our Favorite: "Monster"

14. David Clayton Thomas. Known as the driving force of all those Blood, Sweat and Tears albums, David could sing. He was not in the original band, however. BS & T's first hit, "Sometimes in Winter" featured Al Cooper as their lead singer. But the band did not explode until David took over and belted out "You Made Me So Very Happy".

Our Favorite: "And When I Die"

13. Meat Loaf. You either love him or hate him, but this dude can still sing. Jim Steinman was Meat's partner. He wrote and arranged his two biggest albums, Bat Out of Hell and Bat Out of Hell II: Back in Hell. While Jim started on this year's Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose, his illness prevented Jim finishing the writing for this album. Most of it was written by other writers and certainly was not as well received as the first two.

Our Favorite: "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"

12. Darius Rucker. The lead singer from Hootie and the Blowfish has a smooth rich bass tone that is hard to beat. The first Hootie album made our "Best 50 Albums of All Time" list. The second one sucked. The current album Looking for Lucky is a very good album.

Our Favorite: "Let Her Cry"

11. David Lee Roth. I am sure we would not have selected Mr. Roth if we based this on his solo work. But with all due respect to Sammy Haggar (whom didn't make this list, but was in our top 20), it is David's work with Van Halen that is the band's best. He got a rather raw deal when he thought he was set to take over after Sammy Haggar quit. He recorded a couple of new songs on their greatest hits album, only to be dumped again ten years ago. In January of this year it was announced the David Lee Roth would rejoin the band for this year's tour. As it should be.

Our Favorite: "Jump"

10. Elvis. This was a tough one for me. While I enjoy the King, I am not a huge fan. However, to not place him as one of rock's all time male vocalists would be ignorant on my part. He is a large part of why rock music took off in the first place. Why did he do all those horrible films? Oh, right. It was for the money.

Our Favorite: "Don't Be Cruel"

9. Freddie Mercury. This is a change. If you read our comments, readers thought Mercury deserved to make WTIT's Top 15 Male Rockers. He sang with a lot of bands on the way up. But it was not until Queen that Mercury ruled. With Bohemian Rhapsody and We Will Rock You and Killer Queen, A huge force who died too young from a sickness that you could live with today. So readers, you are right. We ditched the first #9. It's Freddie.

Our Favorite: "We Are the Champions."

8. Robert Plant. The range and depth of Plant's voice, along with Jimmy Page's slick guitar work is why Led Zeppelin is one of the best rock bands ever. His solo career has just emphasized further the incredible range of emotions and vocal styles that makes Robert a premiere act.

Our Favorite: "Good Times, Bad Times"

7. Burton Cummings. Though never considered a "heavyweight" band by rock critics, the Guess Who could rock with the best of them. Here is an example of a band that had so many hit singles that they were considered "too commercial" by so many. Randy Bachman (who would later start BTO) and Burton Cummings were magical together. Cummings voice is unsurpassed by anyone on this list.

Our favorite: Tie. "Share the Land" and "No Time".

6. Jon Bon Jovi. There are not too many bands that could make it during the 80's "big hair" or "glam rock" era and sucessfully remain relevant once alternative rock took off in the 90's. Bon Jovi did as well as anyone except perhaps U2. Jon's solo album was a dud about ten years ago, "Destination Anywhere" but I thought it was some of his best work.

Our Favorite: "Wanted Dead or Alive"

5. Joe Cocker. "We're going to do a song that brings it all into focus," Cocker said at Woodstock, "It's called 'With a Little Help from Me Friends'. Remember it." We do. As we remember all the fantastic music Joe has brought us over the years. Whether slow as in "You Are So Beautiful" or rocking in "Cry Me a River", you can't beat Joe Cocker. Remember when Belushi parodied him on "Saturday Night Live"? The time they did a duet was classic television.

Our Favorite: "St. James Infirmary Blues"

4. Steven Tyler. The front man for Aerosmith rocks out. It is amazing that he is still alive. The band had self destructed when they were given a second chance by re-recording "Walk This Way" with a rap group. Here's a band that's had hits in the 70's,80's and 90's. They still crank it out today.

Our Favorite: "Dude Looks Like a Lady"

3. Rod Stewart. The best live act I ever saw except for perhaps McCartney. And Jaggar wasn't bad either. It's 7 wives and 15 children later, but Rod still can sing. Although I never understood the success of his "American Songbook" albums, as a rock singer he is as agood as it gets. He started with The Jeff Beck Group in the 60's, replaced Steve Marriott (Humble Pie) in Small Faces and renamed the Faces. His solo career has been strong since the release of Maggie Mae in the early 70's.

Our Favorite: "Stay With Me".

2. Mick Jagger. I am finally ready for the Rolling Stones to call it a day. That routine those old fuckers did at the Superbowl a couple of years ago was embarassing. But every since "Satisfaction" the Stones had there way with us. At their best they are the second best rock band there ever was, or perhaps will be. I saw the boys live back in the 80's and man, what a show. I can't even guess how many of their albums I own.

Our Favorite: "Sympathy for the Devil"

1. Jim Morrison. This was an odd choice for me. While I loved The Doors they were in my second tier of favs back in the day. Jim Morrison was just captivating. As a poet, a writer and most importantly in this post, a singer he gave it all he had. What is it Billy Joel sang? Only the Good Die Young. RIP Jim. Your music is still with us all these years later.

Our Favorite: "Touch Me"

We hope you've enjoyed our trip down memory lane today. The WTIT Blog will return tomorrow with our "Dating Profiles of the Week". Check us out. It might not be horrible. Who knows?
Same time. Same Blog.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You're Rocking with Bud

This is going to be a bit of a walk down memory lane for me. It might give you a bit of insight of how I became the totally crazy person I am today. I was a DJ for a long time. And I mean a real one, not just a “Tape DJ”. I majored in communications in college because all I ever wanted to be since I was ten years old, was to be a DJ. When we started WTIT I chose the name Bud Weiser because the DJs of that era had names like Rusty Potts or Sandy Beach. What was strange that once all my friends started calling me Bud, my parents did as well. Being a “Jr.” I started out life called by my middle name and when I switched schools in second grade I started using my first name, but it never felt right. So at 14 I became Bud for good, or so I thought.

In radio they use to love to change your name. In my three pro jobs while still in college I used the name Bud Fisher. By this time it was my real name. At my first station full time after college I was the midday (10AM-3PM) jock at a rock station. I picked out every song I played. We had a massive rock library, but I could bring in albums from home if I wanted. I could say what I wanted to say. I played what I wanted to play. That is why I so love Tom Petty’s song “The Last DJ” about someone such as I getting to do what I would like. I did not know that this would be the only station that I ever worked for that gave jocks that freedom. Computers and “music research” took the choices out of the DJs’ hands by the mid seventies. WILI were the call letters of this great rock station in Willimantic, Connecticut.

I did not know I would never be Bud Fisher again when I left that station to go to a rock station in Springfield, Massachusetts. I gave WILI a two-week notice, the second of which was my vacation. I was newly married and my wife and I vacationed in Maine. While driving home we passed through Springfield. I said to my wife, “Want to hear my new station?” What could she say? I tuned it in. After the song they played a promo. It said, “Starting Monday at 3PM is the Gary Morgan Show.” I was devastated. How could I lose the job before I started? I showed up Monday at the station at the designated time thinking I was going to be sent home. What I didn’t figure out was that I was now Gary Morgan. So, I did get the job but Bud Fisher was never a DJ again.

I really made my mark at the next station and those that followed. It was the first "oldies" radio station in Connecticut, WRCQ. But it was not as Bud Fisher. Or Bud Weiser. Or Gary Morgan. I became Gary Hunter. I used that name from 1974 to my last radio show in 1990. I was The Hunter. My last show was a morning show in Springfield called “Mike and the Hunter”. But that really is not the reason for this post. It really is all about those two years I was Bud Fisher and picked out my own music at WILI.

We had a great guy who was the morning guy named Wayne Norman. Believe it or not, Wayne is STILL the morning man at WILI. Wayne has broadcast about a million UConn games for whatever network has aired the games. Kind of a local legend. The station is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this week. Wayne tracked me down. He wanted me to be interviewed on his morning show to talk about the good old days. Today I’d like you to share the experience with me. You’ll find out a lot about me then and me now. So I will tell you how to hear the interview. Click here and then in the middle of the page it says, "The Best of Wayne Norman" and click that. Click the download for “Wayne interviews Bud Fisher”, then just choose “open” when the little box flashes. It was great that they wanted my memories of their radio station. Please, let me know what you think. That is if you had the fortitude of understanding those instructions.

The WTIT Tape Radio Blog will return. Same time. Same blog. Join us then. And a hearty thanks for putting up with my story today. Peace!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Boys Are Back in Town

Last night from the Associated press: "Syesha Mercado was voted off American Idol Wednesday night, paving the way for the expected showdown between David Archuleta and David Cook."

We stated on the record that David Archulata would win American Idol when the Top 12 were announced. We also said that we were rooting for David Cook. On a comment on Trav's Thoughts yesterday that we stated that we thought we'd never like a rocker as much as Chris Daughtry on American Idol. We actually like Cook more. So we hope we are wrong in the end and David Cook wins. A GREAT!!!! Season. Thank you Fox!

WTIT Blog’s feature A DJ’s Take has been one of our most popular features. Today we continue our latest version of this feature that we have "sub-titled" 5 Random Songs. When writing this, we simply pick out five songs (at random...who'd a thunk?) that we have grown to love over the years. We hope to share with you some of the background of the songs and of course why this music is important to us. Sometimes it is because of the trival nature of the song, sometimes it's the song's history. Today let's look at these five songs:

Love Song by Sarah Bareilles:

We were going to link this part of today’s post to Linda’s blog, Are We There Yet? because it was her post with the video of this song that drew us to the artist. Sarah Bareilles was a recording artist that we had not heard of as of that post. The video of this song totally captivated us. So we downloaded the entire CD. And yes, usually when you do this you are utterly disappointed. But in this case, we were very pleasantly surprised. Every song on the CD is as good as the next one. Her lyrics are well thought out and meaningful. Her voice is beautiful and her music is captivating. The song is from her 2007 album Little Voice.

It seems that Epic, the record company that signed Bareilles, told her that they wanted her to write and perform a “marketable love song”. She wrote this song as her response. As you might know iTunes features a free download each week and they featured Love Song for one week in 2007. By the next month Little Voice was the site’s number one downloaded album. The single peaked at number 5 in the Billboard Hot 100 songs. In this past February her CD was certified gold and the album hit number 7 in the Billboard Top 200 albums. Her next tour is with Maroon 5, a band we enjoy and is headlined by one of our favorite bands of all time The Counting Crows. They will be in Connecticut in August.

Wild World by Cat Stevens:

We have always thought that there was no better song written about a breakup that is not your decision. It was out around the time my high school girlfriend told me that “God” told her to break up with me. It was Cat’s first hit in the US and had been a hit in the UK with a version by Jimmy Cliff three months prior to Steven’s release. It is from the album Tea for the Tillerman, one of his best albums. Cat was born Stephanos Demetre Georgiou and is now known as Yusuf Islam. For years after his conversion to Muslim he felt that had to leave his music behind him. It was not until the start of this century that Islam felt he could be both. When he released a boxed CD set of Cat Stevens music in 2001, he said that Wild World convinced him that it was the right thing to do. If you ever want to hear a terrific song that he covered in his CD last year, download his version of Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood.

American Woman by The Guess Who:

All the original members of the Guess Who were from Winnipeg, Canada. Chad Allen was the leader and lead singer in the start of the band in 1962 that was called Chad Allen and the Silvertones. Chad then changed the name of the band to Chad Allen and the Reflections just in time for an American band called The Reflections to have a hit with Just Like Romeo and Juliet. The band got signed by Quality records and recorded a cover of Shaking All Over. The record company called the band Guess Who? (yes with a question mark) and thought with the Mercy Beat sound teens might think it a secret Beatles record or something. Shaking All Over was a major hit in Canada. The band released their first two albums with separate releases under Guess Who? and again as Chad Allen and the Expressions.

A key member left the Guess Who at the end of 1965 and Burton Cummings was brought in as a keyboard player and a “co-lead” singer. Not Chad Allen’s best move. Burton Cummings, who made number 6 on WTIT’s Top 15 Male Rock Vocalists of All Time, replaced Chad almost immediately and Chad left the band. The question mark left shortly after Chad. Cummings and guitarist Randy Bachman (when he left he formed Bachman Turner Overdrive) now wrote the songs. No longer a “Mercy Beat” band they now had an edge and injected more blues and hard rock in their music. American Woman was the title song of their first album that really showed the change in direction. And American Woman would be their only song to hit number one in the U.S.

The Boys are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy:

There is not a lot of story here, but it is one our favorite rock songs of all time. It was released in 1976. Thin Lizzy was an Irish rock band and the lead singer was Phil Lynott. Obvious we were not alone in loving the song. It has been covered in concerts or on albums by artists including: Bon Jovi, Ash Mondays, Everclear, and Pearl Jam. The song was in Rolling Stones Top 500 rock songs of all time. It has been written that the brass in the song was inspired by a Bruce Springsteen song, Kitty’s Back.

When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge:

Percy Sledge was all upset when he showed up for a gig while in the band The Esquires Combo. He could not concentrate on their normal set because he and his girlfriend had broken up. He asked the band to play a blues chord progression and wrote the song as he sung. At the time he called it Why Did You Leave Me and it was about his girlfriend Lizz King. After Sledge was in a better state of mind he rewrote the song as When a Man Loves a Woman and brought it to a record company to try and sell the song. They were so impressed they signed him to sing it. He gave sole credit to his band mates who played the riffs that night, his bass player Cameron Lewis and organ player Andrew Wright. This would end up costing him millions of dollars in royalties. When the song was released three years after he has last seen Lizz King, she contacted him and they actually got back together for a while.

After the song was recorded, the producers brought him back because they realized that he was off key in a couple of spots. Percy was glad to do it. Here's a bit of irony: The record company mixed the tapes up and released the off key version. It is the song we still love to this day. Percy Sledge was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. The song has been covered and hits again by others including Bette Midler and in 1991 by Michael Bolton. A final piece of trivia: It was also covered during his solo career by Burton Cummings of the Guess Who.

That will do it for your Thursday
edition of the WTIT Blog.
We hope you enjoyed our 5 Random
"Blasts from the Past" on this week's
A DJ's Take.
Next time we will attempt to actually
do something incredibly funny. Or perhaps
we will settle for anything even"mildly amusing".
We tend to set our standards not very high.
We are happy that you read
our nonsense on WTIT: The Blog.
Join us next time.
We will do our Dating Profiles.
Same time. Same blog. Go David Cook!