Thursday, May 20, 2010

WTIT Top 10 R&B Female Singers

WTIT Tape Radio Blog brings you today our feature called A DJ’s Take and another one of our "Best of" lists. Today we bring you our Top 10 Female R&B Singers of all time. Please feel free to “take this feature" and do it as a meme to present your opinions. Today, we will share. We will give you the artist and a bit of their bio. Let’s cue up today's A DJ's Take!

10. Donna Summer was born on New Year’s Eve 1948. Her biggest hits were released in the 1970’s. She became one of the premiere female disco singers, but in our opinion she would have succeeded in any era. “Love to Love You Baby”, “It’s Raining Men” and “Last Dance” are some of her huge hits.

9. Gloria Gaynor was born September 7, 1949. She is another of the disco queens of the 1970’s. Her biggest hit was “I Will Survive” and to this day rings true to a lot of folks. “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Let Me Know (I Have a Right)” are another couple of big songs for Gloria.

8. Mariah Carey was born on March 27, 1970 in New York City. Her biggest hits include “Always Be My Baby”, “We Belong Together” and “Fantasy”. She popped on the national scene and has almost every conceivable award since. She is currently still a huge force in music.

7. Janet Jackson was born May 16, 1966. Her brothers were already superstars by the time Janet released her first album in 1982. It wasn’t until she hooked up with two of the men behind “Prince” (Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis) that she became a star. She released the album “Control” in 1986, which yielded five hit songs, videos choreographed by Paula Abdul. Her first nominations and awards came from “Control”. Janet still sells music to this day. But who will ever forget that Superbowl "Wardrobe Malfunction"?

6. Patti Labelle was born May 24, 1944 as Patricia Holt. She was the driving force to Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles in the 1960’s. When the Supremes needed a replacement for Florence Ballard they grabbed Cindy Birdsong from the Bluebelles. Patti and Cindy did not talk for eighteen years because of that. Their biggest hit was “Lady Marmalade” in the 1970’s.

5. Whitney Houston was born August 9, 1963. Considering the magnitude of her talent it will always be her rocky on and off relationship with husband Bobby Brown and drug problems that immediately come to mind at the mention of her name. Her self titled album in 1985 yielded five hit singles. Her last big album was released in 2002. At one point in the 80’s she had seven number one hits in a row breaking a record shared by The Beatles and the Bee Gees.

4. Martha Reeves was born July 18, 1941. She and her two friends were back-up singers to Marvin Gaye in the early 60’s. When Mary Wells didn’t show to record a song, they had Marvin’s back-up singers try it. It became the first hit from Martha Reeves and the Vendellas. Some others include “Dancing in the Street”, “(Love is Like a) Heat Wave” and “Nowhere to Run”.

3. Tina Turner started with husband Ike and had some huge hits with him. “Proud Mary” was the biggest of the era. It was an abusive relationship she later made a movie about that included some of her biggest hits of the 1980’s titled “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. Her Mad Max and the Thunderdome soundtrack was very successful as well. Tina was born on November 26, 1939. Her “Private Dancer” album was a huge 80’s work as well. Her first greatest hits album was titled “Simply the Best”.

2. Diana Ross was as good as a Motown ladies group leader got. Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard and she started the Supremes. Mary Wilson was lead singer until a record contract was at stake. Berry Gordy moved Diana to the lead spot. Mary Wilson would write in her book it was because of Diana and Berry’s personal relationship. However since they broke up in 1970, how many big Mary Wilson hits have there been? The Supremes had hits like “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Baby Love” Come See About Me” and on it goes. Diana’s solo career has been big as well. “Touch Me in the Morning”, Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To) and “Love Hangover” are some of her solo hits. She played Billie Holiday in “Lady Sings the Blues” and Dorothy in “The Wiz”. Diana was born on March 26, 1944.

1. Aretha was born “The Queen of Soul” on March 25, 1942. No one has ever been a bigger soul artist. She has recorded twenty number one R&B singles. Her biggest and signature song is “Respect”. Other hits included “Chain of Fools”, “Baby I Love You” and “(You Make Me feel Like) A Natural Woman. Steely Day in “Hey Nineteen” complained that a young lady did not know who “The Queen of Soul” was. And I never bought it. I bet even today, all these years later, a nineteen year old knows Aretha. OR perhaps they just don’t like music.

We hope that you enjoy this feature.
If you have a suggestion for A DJ's Take please email us at
WTIT: The Blog.
Tomorrow brings Friday and Dating Profiles.
Join us unless you actually have a life.
In that case, live it. We will be right here at WTIT.
Same time. Same blog.

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

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. Her CD was certified gold and the album hit number 7 in the Billboard Top 200 albums.

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, 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 Wednesday
edition of the WTIT Blog.
We hope you enjoyed our 5 Random
"Blasts from the Past" on this week's
A DJ's Take.
Join us next time.
We expect to be Thunking.
Same time. Same blog.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Say Hi to Song Long Davey

So today we will talk about music. Not just any music, but about a band named So Long Davey! As you probably have forgot, my son James moved to California what will be for two years this August. The reason for the move was that he wanted to be in a rock band and felt it was not happening for him in New England. While some parents would not be positive about this idea, I thought it was fantastic. I just advised him not to get married to the girlfriend that moved with him. Nothing against her, but nothing dampens dreams like wives and diapers. Had I not been an on-air radio personality for years, I would have always wondered, “what if?” I was glad that James was going to give it a shot. Since he broke up with his girlfriend shortly after arriving in San Diego, he dodged that bullet.

James writes terrific songs. He sings well, but lacks confidence that you need to be a front man. James was always in a band. I did a video of his high school band for a class on the history of the Roman Empire. I recorded the band on audio, then had them sit in the WTIT Studio to lip sync the tune. Since the drums wouldn’t fit, the drummer played “air drums” and made goofy faces. It came out all right and got an “A” for the project. Other than the band drawing fifteen town cops to show up at my house to shut the band’s practice down, when my wife (of the time, 2nd I think…) and I were out, this band The James Experience caused no excitement.

James’ music wouldn't wait for college, but he gave college a try anyway. He was in a band there, but his vision and the band's were not the same. James left school, came home, and formed a band named Euphony. He found a front person, a very pretty gal named Virgina who sounded a bit like Joplin. The CD they created was very good. But the front woman was wrong for a lot of reasons. In person while she sang well and could look pretty, she had no “it” factor. She wasn’t nearly as pretty as she thought she was, nor sang as well that someone who had her talent should have sung. She also had a thing with another band member and then insisted on becoming the band's leader. She changed the band’s names to North of Virginia and thought she could write music. James stayed on briefly and I saw the band once. They sucked, except for the songs they played that James wrote. James is a great songwriter and guitarist, but he couldn’t rescue this mess and left the band.

James' next project became The James Austin Band. I saw them at a WCCC (the Rock) concert. They recorded a bit and the band gave James and his oldest friend Dean, a terrific drummer, a chance to be in the same band, however how brief. They recorded a bit before James' next move.

Once James got to California, he looked online on Craig’s List to see if he could join a band that needed a guitar playing songwriter. He got in touch with a guy who was known locally named David Vaughn. Vaughn had a MySpace site, so I checked him out. He was outrageous. Not only did he have a ton of personality, but also he was an awesome singer. James joined his backing band and really respected the guy. As the relationship grew and the two trusted each other something really rocked about these two and the band. David is not a songwriter per se. He was a lot more pop than James, who was a lot more rock. The reigned each other in and the results are fantastic. With David’s personality and vocals, James’ guitar work and songwriting, the band started winning contests. Instead of David Vaughn and his band, they became So Long Davey! to acknowledge the partnership. They’ve now opened for national acts like The Plain White T’s. They’ve just recorded their first CD and are looking to get signed.

I got an email yesterday. Not from James, but the band’s leader, David Vaughn. I have not met David, but we chatted for an hour or so some six months ago. David wrote me:

Hey Bud!
How've you been? James has probably told you, but we're pushing this new CD like MAD!
We're now #30 in the's Top 100 selling CD's (right behind Fall Out Boy). I predict some awesome things will happen for us when we get to number 1 so we're getting everybody to buy our CD for only $5 on the site. And, of course, in bulk if they can! Spread the word; spread the music! :)

So, I don't know if you would honor us with a post of your everpopular (and hilarious) blog and/or with an e-mail forward. Anything that you can do will be MADLY appreciated, sir!


Here’s their promo ad:

Needs Your Help!

Please Order Our New CD,
Another Planet On!


We need help getting to #1

Awesome things have been happening to us ever since we got in the Top 100
and the higher we get the better

it¢s going to be for our careers!

Our CD is ONLY $5 on the site!
We're SO CLOSE to being #1!!!

It¢s really a GREAT CD and we¢ve worked tirelessly to get it to be as fun and catchy as it is!

Please get one for yourself and if you could share the love and order some extras for friends, nephews, nieces, co-workers, in-laws, dads, moms, girlfriends, boyfriends, whoever! We get points on the charts for every order

And it¢s ONLY $5 on the site!

Please help. We need you!


Also, PLEASE FORWARD this to anyone and everyone you can!
We want to spread the music and we really think you¢re going to LOVE our CD!

Thank-you SO MUCH!


Okay I know that I am totally prejudiced, but I know you will love this music. Give it a listen on MySpace and buy the CD for just a fin! And even more importantly talk about it on your blogs! I mean you've got tons more readers than I do. But I don't need James or David Vaughn learning that.
So mention it. Or Email Me for code for your sidebar.
These guys rock and are going to be big.
Here's an opportunity to say that you
helped David & James way back then.
If they are the next John & Paul, you will
kick yourselves later.
Thanks for joing us in the WTIT Blog today.
Join us next time.
Same time. Same blog.
Join My Community at MyBloglog!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Best DJs: WTIT's Hall of Fame

There is no particular order to our choices for "Best DJs". These are some of the guys who inspired me to become a radio personality which I was for a long time. These guys worked for a ton of radio stations. We've just listed how we stumbled upon them and continued to follow their careers. If these guys weren't so good, there would have been any Bud Weiser or for that matter WTIT Tape Radio. We cannot imagine life without this history of ours. Let's just start!
Jackson Armstrong, WPOP, WKBW

This guy could talk. And yell. It was never dull. He was a classic Top 40 jock at the peak of Top 40 radio. When he shouted out that his station was the "music leader" he wailed.

Dick Robinson, WDRC

I started to listen to Dick Robinson as a kid. When I was Gary Hunter at WRCQ and latter WCCC, I worked for Dick part time as an instructor at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. He became a customer when I owned a chain of video stores. He became a client when I was in radio sales at WTIC. He became a friend and mentor after that. We haven't spoke in a while, but the guy was terrific to me. And it is a gift to meet and become friends with a childhood hero. As salesmanager of WPOP and Radio 104 I hired his daughter Missy for her first radio gig.

Sandy Beach WDRC, WKBW

Sandy Beach had a classic radio name like "Rusty Potts" and it was those type of names that inspired me to be Bud Weiser. But as you know, I've never used that name on the radio. Just on WTIT and of course here on WTIT Tape Radio: The Blog. Sandy was a terrific jock. Great voice, very funny and he knew his music.


Some of these guys are friends, some are heros from my childhood. They influenced me to do radio. I want to thank them. I only have met Don Imus once. Rod Allen got us in to see him do a TV interview at TV 8 in New Haven. After all the drama from his repetition of a racist comment directed at the Rutgers' Womens Basketball program, he has landed at WABC.


When Hartford's first oldies station went on the air in 1974, it's call letters were WRCQ and was called 91Q. I was lucky enough to be in the station's original line-up. Before the current jocks kicked off the format, the station brought back a lot of classic DJs who had been stars in the 60's at Hartford's two big rock stations" WDRC and WPOP. One of my favorites from both of those stations was Joey Reynolds. He appeared as the final "DJ from the Past" on that first weekend. I would be the first DJ following him and starting the new station. All I said was "What an act to have to follow!" Joey invited all of us back to his hotel for a huge party that night. I'll never forget that night. I still have the tape of the end of Joey's show and the start of mine.

Bud Ballou WVBF

Bud was huge in Boston where I went to college. He was outrageous and funny and I still have air check recordings of some of his shows in the 1970's. He died young, which was such a waste.

Long John Wade WDRC

WDRC's afternoon drive host in their hey-day. I won my first radio contest on his show when I was 12. The prize? A 45 RPM of the Mama & the Papa's "I Saw Her Again". He also was at that kick-off weekend for WRCQ. It was great to meet him.

Dan Ingram WABC, WCBS

Dan Ingram was one of the best Top 40 DJs ever. Other jocks ripped off his style and jokes. But when you heard his "Dan Ingram" jingle and his infectious personality you were hooked. I still own a tape someone made taping all his best shows from the summer of 1968.

Ron Landry WDRC

He was WDRC's morning man for a long time. Everything he said was funny. He later did stand up and comedy albums with a partner. They were simply called Hudson & Landry. I still have a record album of their comedy.

Johnnie Williams WRKO

Top 40 changed and jocks talked less and played much more music. Some guys could do this and still be creative and funny. Johnny was one of those dudes. A fantastic voice in Boston.

The Greaseman WPOP

The Greaseman played a character as a DJ. He sounded like an old "good old boy" but was very hip. He was at WPOP doing mornings when I was in college and had a very long successful career spending years in the nation's capital.

Joe "High Gear" Hagar WDRC, WAVZ

While I was in college I spent a ton of time at WDRC because my friend Rod Allen did the overnight show. He and Joe threw parties after dark at the station and I became good friends with both of them. Joe was a classic radio guy. I sat in at shows he did at both WDRC and WAVZ. Joe died very young. He is missed.


When I first heard Sebastion on WDRC in the late 70's, he was a throwback to the great personalities of the 60's at WDRC. He has come and gone over the years. He left WCCC mornings for a ton of bucks at WZMX. A couple of years later when Howard Stern went national WCCC picked up Stern. Sebastion not only got creamed, but the station switched formats when they let Sebastion go. He went on and landed at an all sports station in Springfield, Mass. About a year before that station changed from an all sports thing to news, they replaced Senastion with a syndicated show from their Hartford and New Haven stations. It bombed. Had Sebastion finally left radio for good? Nope. When Howard Stern left on air to go to Serius radio, WCCC replaced Howard with Sebastion. He is still there as of 2008.

Jim Nettleton WDRC, WABC

Just a classic rock radio Top 40 DJ.

Rod Allen WDRC

Rod Allen was a good friend of mine in the early 70's. His parties while working with Joe Hagar, Gary DeGraide other jocks and me were legendary. A damn good DJ too. We sttill use some of his voice overs for promotions at WTIT. He wrote us after our site was launched in 2006.

Opie & Anthony WAAF

I worked with Opie and Anthony at WAAF. Great guys. They replaced David Lee Roth (who had started a morning show on Howard Stern's network after he went to Serius.) and are very talented.
Stoneman WPLR, WCCC

Not much of a voice, but man he knew music. He was on back in the days we still picked out the songs we played. He was the night guy at WPLR in New Haven for years. After he went to WCCC when they went album rock. I worked with Stoneman at WCCC. He followed my sfternoon show. Another enormous talent who passed away young.

Dick Summer WNBC, WMEX

A great mellow DJ voice. He programed WMEX a rock station in Boston while I was at college and did a terrfic call-in show at WNBC in New York in the late 70's. WTIT did a parody of that show and sent him a copy in 1975. I played Dick and Al "Tonto" played the callers.

Ken Griffin WPOP, WDRC

Worked at both WDRC and WPOP in the 60's. He did the very first "album rock show" in Harford that he called "The Scene of the Unheard:. We spoofed him at WTIT calling our show "The Scene of the Unwanted".

Honorable Mentions: Gary Craig, Damon Scott, Ted Dalaku, Lee Gordon, Lee Baby Simms, Charlie Fox, and of course Gary Hunter...