Sunday, November 9, 2008

remembering WAKY Louisville 790

Years later, there is still no doubt about the best radio memories from the Louisville market. With all due respect to the full service and tradition of WHAS, the memories of the good old days of AM radio in Louisville continue to reside from the next spot over to the left - 790 WAKY, from its hey days of the 60's and 70's. has just listed an entire series consisting of more than 7 hours of scoped air checks recalling the great WAKY sound of the 70's. All together on an 8 CD series.

There is even one CD devoted to the "Final Day" of the legendary top 40 station. The rest of this series are devoted to its most important and most remembered personalities. Nights in Louisville have never been the same without Coyote Calhoun. Even after all these years, his 70's afternoon drive air checks continue to sound a lot like Kris Eric Stevens.

This series also features the legendary Gary Burbank, including a full CD air check of his final WAKY show, before he moved on to Cincinnati powerhouse WLW to continue one of the most significant radio careers ever.

You can also remember Bill Bailey in the morning. (This is one of the Bill Baileys that had a stint on WLS Chicago.) Two of the CD's in this series bring you vintage Bailey.

And, we wouldn't be in "line" without including Mason Dixon. Actually, Mason Lee Dixon, and more than 90 minutes of airchecks from 1971 and 1972. Included in this set is Dixon's memorable interpretation of Don McLean's "American Pie" as it originally aired back in 1971.

That segment is probably one of the most important air checks in the collection. While hearing and re-living the memories of the good old days of radio is so enjoyable for most of us, I so enjoy these type of features that tie us to a particular date or era. The "American Pie" interpretation is one of them. It is fun to remember how many of the dj's of that era tried to put their own spin on the meaning of the lyrics. That song was far from being the first about music, but was a long way from "At The Hop" and "gotta be Rock & Roll Music if you wanna dance with me".

"American Pie" had a serious overtone. A message about the music. The writer honestly saw a change he didn't like after the fatal Buddy Holly plane crash and used a curious code to vividly express himself. It seems as though at least one dj in each radio market sought or received some notariaty by issuing his interpretation of those lyrics. Dixon's was among those.

In fact, Bob Dearborn authored perhaps the most famous interpretation of "American Pie". Or, maybe it became the most famous because he was on Chicago's WCFL. In any event, Dearborn still has his writing about it available via his blog, and this is 37 years later with Dearborn on the air in his native Canada.

Most of the time, the air check series are anywhere from 1 to 3 CD's for an entire series. In the instance of these WAKY air checks, and the memories they bring back, the decision was made to issue them as an 8 CD series.

If you are among those who decide to acquire this series, I'm sure that our group would appreciate your feedback. Not only about the wonderful WAKY series, but about the issuing of expanding and offering larger CD series in tribute to the great stations.

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