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Re: Top 40 on WBZ (Was First with Rock)

Donna wrote:

I'm not sure WBZ ever did what we might call "top-40"-- i.e., screaming
d.j.'s and tight rotations.  They gradually did begin playing more 'pop'
music-- from about 1957 when the so-called "Live Five" were hired through
the personality-deejay days of the early 60s with Bruce Bradley and Jeff
Kaye and Dick Summer, they never really rocked hard.  I have seen surveys
from that period of time, and even in the late 50s, the music walked the
fine line between pop and AC.  They did some dayparting of course-- Bruce
Bradley's night-time shows (especially the remotes from Nantasket) had more
freedom than the other shifts, but even on those, he was just as likely to
play Teresa Brewer or Kitty Kallen as he was to play something that what a
big top-40 hit.  There was a period of time in the mid 60s when WBZ seemed
the closest to a top-40, but they still had an hourly news-block, Bob
Kennedy doing "Contact", and a heavy public service commitment even then...
If anything, today we would call them 'chicken rock' or Hot AC...

I have a slightly different take on this. There certainly was a period when
the songs WBZ played included those that were as top-40 as they could be.
I'd say it was about 1962 or '63 through about 1967. The Beatles, Rolling
Stones, Kinks, Animals, James Brown, the Motown groups, etc., all were
played. They played "Wooly Bully" and "Louie, Louie" and used snippets of
"I Put on a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins as drops. I recall Jeff
Kaye as someone who could do a little "screaming" occasionally. At the same
time, it had some MOR-ish songs on its list that WMEX didn't play -- Dean
Martin, Frank Sinatra, etc., still found their place. That set it apart.
But, to me, the key thing is that there were no top-40 hits that it
"wouldn't" play -- except of course for "Eve of Destruction," which
Westinghouse headquarters pulled off all its stations AFTER it was number
one on Dave Maynard's weekly countdown. The WBZ presentation was not as
classically '60s top-40 as WMEX, WABC, etc., but in its essentials I think
it qualifies. And sure, WBZ did news every hour, but so did every station
then. It had a talk show at night, but so did WMEX, with Jerry Williams.
WBZ gradually moved away from true top-40 starting around the time WRKO
came on in 1967.