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2012-01-30 10:12:04

That Was The Month That Was

It's been a busy January. I made another visit to my alma mater, Reed College. Had a great time, and people seemed to enjoy my talks about the Beatles, protest songs, and Dr D's Greatest Hits (with video of Fish Heads, Zappa, Lehrer, Weird Al, and lots more). You can see my rendition of "Shaving Cream" on YouTube (the link is in a reply to my previous post, thanks M. Lestatkatt!) However, the video is missing the verse I sang as an encore, which went something like
I studied so hard at Reed College
I just did not know when to quit
I learned so darn much at Reed College
My brain nearly turned into…
a finely tuned organ of dazzing intellect, superbly prepared for grad school
and all life had to offer. I love Reed, wonderful to be here, thank you for coming
and you’ll always look keen!
Which pretty much sums up how I feel about the place where I made my radio debut (on the 10-watt campus FM station, which like our own show has now migrated to cyberspace).

The Beatles talk was about the music they listened to when they were growing up, and how it influenced them. They heard and treasured all the American rock 'n roll hits of the 1950s, of course, but they also knew, and often covered in their early days, such pop standards as "September In the Rain," "Falling In Love Again," "The Shiek of Araby" and even Fats Waller's "Your Feet's Too Big." Working with George Martin further expanded their horizons. What made their music special was the unique blend of their voices, evident even in their earliest scraps of tape, and their songwriting which took longer to develop. I'm amazed at how much today's college students appreciate 50-year-old music – that was not the case when I was a student!

The protest song talk was subtitled "What Occupy needs is a hit song." Occupy gatherings often have singing, and you can find quite a bit of it on YouTube, but the movement doesn't yet have a theme song, like "We Shall Overcome" for the civil rights movement. It doesn't have (so far, anyway) a Woody Guthrie, a young Pete Seeger or a young Dylan. If the Occupy movement had that, it might actually change the course of this country. Just a thought.

I got home and launched into the next show, which went online January 28. It wasn't finished until the morning of the 27th! We used to have a three-week "lead time" for the network show in the 1980s, when it had to be pressed on LP records and snail-mailed to the affiliate stations.

Along with the first Top Ten of 2012, with some great new songs, that show features an all-too-brief tribute to the three R&B stars we lost in the preceding few days: Etta James, Johnny Otis and Jimmy Castor. Johnny Otis' passing hit me especially hard: he was a colleague of mine at KPPC-FM in Pasadena, where the Dr. Demento Show began in 1970-71. When Sue and I were married, Johnny and his band played at our wedding reception. People danced so hard that two of our friends had to go to the emergency room!

Previous Replies:
2012-02-02 19:04:08
From: Johnny
Bonus tracks
I would consider "Speiden Island" from this weeks show to be a bonus track, since it was played after the Top 10.
2012-02-02 09:19:44
From: Dr. Demento

thanks for the suggestions, John & Johnny!

Edwin - good question. The Bonus Tracks began when I was still on FM radio, as a way of including songs I couldn't play on FM or just didn't have time for within the two-hour window (which included time reserved for commercials). With the entire show internet-only, there seems less need for this concept. However, I may still use Bonus Tracks in the future for material that some listeners might want to skip...items that may be more of an acquired taste, or items that use unusually explicit language. Having these as bonus tracks makes it easier to hear the show without hearing such items. It's going to be on a case-by-case basis.
2012-01-30 19:54:14
From: Johnny
Speaking of the Beatles
October 5, 2012 will be the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles first single, "Love Me Do". That might be a good time to do the Beatles as a show topic.
2012-01-30 12:35:05
From: john
That was the month that was
Any thoughts about a Festival of Classical Dementia--PDQ Bach, Spike Jones, Homer & Jethro, Victor Borg, Flanders & Swan all come readily to mind. Jean Sherpherd's use of classical music during his shows added a special flavor as well. I think there is even a Mel Blanc spoof of Carmen--Instant Carmen I think?

2012-01-30 10:17:42
From: Edwin
Bonus Tracks
I was just wondering what ever happened to the bonus tracks at the end
of the show?