Category Archives: Music/Variety

31 December: Here’s to the New Year

It could have been better . . . it certainly could have been worse . . .  but now let’s say goodbye to 2015 the auld-time radio way, beginning (perhaps this will become a tradition in this space, too) with a legendary New Year’s Eve music special for American and other troops still scattered ’round in the immediate wake of World War II . . .

 

Various Artists: New Year’s Radio Dancing Party (Armed Forces Radio Service, 31 December 1945)

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21 November: Freed fall

Freed at work. Perhaps coincidentally, the stack of records is topped by a release from Roulette Records---whose corrupt mastermind Morris Levy was Freed's patron in more than one way . . . (Photo: ABC.)

Freed at work. Perhaps coincidentally, the stack of records is topped by a release from Roulette Records—whose corrupt mastermind Morris Levy was Freed’s patron in more than one way . . . (Photo: ABC.)

Alan Freed: The Final Words on ABC (WABC, 1959)

This is not goodbye, it’s just good night. Alan Freed’s customary on-air sign-off carries an ominous tone tonight. He may or may not know it as he says it, but his career as a radio big-timer is about to end, six years before his life itself will.

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19 May: It isn’t goodnight for Alan Freed; it’s a long, painful goodbye

Alan Freed, near the height of his career, circa 1955-56. (Photo: WINS.)

Alan Freed, near the height of his career, circa 1955-56. (Photo: WINS.)

He coined the term “rock and roll” (perhaps inspired by the use of the phrase in Billy Ward and the Dominos’ suggestive rhythm and blues hit “Sixty Minute Man”) and he was often considered its father. And yet there have been those who have pondered whether Alan Freed came to it at first for love or for the cash register. Nelson George, in his remarkable The Death of Rhythm & Blues (New York: Pantheon, 1988), isolated that thought among others:

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17 January: Entertaining letters from home

Bing Crosby at an AFRS microphone, a frequent guest on Mail Call and Command Performance. (Photo: American Forces Network.)

Bing Crosby at an AFRS microphone, a frequent guest on Mail Call and Command Performance. (Photo: American Forces Network.)

Invaluable as it has been to American forces during World War II, the Armed Forces Radio Service essentially launched with Mail Call in 1942, the AFRS’s first in-house production. By the time of tonight’s broadcast, the show’s format will have shifted to something more of a conventional variety format along the line of the better-remembered Command Performance—with one twist.

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31 December: Auld time radio

It could have been better . . . it certainly could have been worse . . . but now let’s say goodbye to 2014 the auld-time radio way, beginning (perhaps this will become a tradition in this space, too) with a legendary New Year’s Eve music special for American and other troops still scattered ’round in the immediate wake of World War II . . .

Various Artists:
New Year’s Radio Dancing Party
(Armed Forces Radio Service, 31 December 1945)

 

Duke Ellington in 1945.

Duke Ellington in 1945.

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