Rock 'n' Radio: When DJs and Rock Music Ruled the Airwaves
Véhicule Press, 2017 - Disc jockeys - 316 pages
Rock 'n' Radio illustrates that Montreal was at the epicentre of the rock radio revolution in Canada, eventually attracting talented DJs from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Their personal stories and the inevitable collision with the power of alternative FM rock radio in the late 60s take the reader through some of the best rock music recorded and the social changes that percolated in the background.
The period 1926 to 1949 can be considered the Golden Age of radio when it was the hearth of the North American family. Much to everyone's surprise, it survived the incursion of television to live another Golden Age--the 1960s and 1970s when rock 'n' roll music seeped its way onto mainstream radio, pushing aside Perry Como and the Dorsey Brothers for Elvis and The Beatles.
The new golden era of radio spawned what would eventually be called Top 40 AM radio, whose premise was built on the philosophy: play all the hits, then play them again. Pioneer Top 40 DJs like Alan Freed in the U.S., widely recognized as the man who coined the phrase "rock 'n' roll," spawned a new breed of radio personalities--the fast-talking salesman who delivered the goods. Hundreds of radio stations in North American gave up their entire programming day over to rock music. And with that came a legion of young, hungry Top 40 DJs such as Dave Boxer, Ralph Lockwood and Doug Pringle, looking for jobs at stations across Canada.
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Wow. Ian Howarth has just released a wonderful, well written, and researched tribute to the mostly 60's/70's DJ and radio station scene in Montreal.
The book unveils how important the DJ's in Montreal were to baby-boomers who turned to music for fun, protest and liberation. The book harks back to the days when a transistor radio was your ticket to the world and "album-based" FM radio was a novel low budget experiment. Howarth ties the Montreal scene to DJs south of the border like "Cousin abrucie." Very well written and packed with information, the book could not have been easy to organize. I like how Ian Howarth put it all together. He also covers the clubs where the DJs introduced The Stones, and local bands like The Haunted (check out their song "1-2-5"), Mashmakhan ("And As the Years Go By"). This book is a must for all baby boomers who loved listening to the radio during the 60's and 70's.