Thursday, July 19, 2007

I'm loving it!

No, not MacDonald's. I'm talking about the return of "oldies" radio to the New York metropolitan area.

WCBS 101.1FM was "the" oldies station in our area for years. All the old DJ's from the hit AM radio station I grew up with, 77 WABC (now talk radio), migrated over to 101.1 and lived on throughout the later 70's, the 80's, 90's and beginning of the 00's. Cousin "Brucie" Morrow, Harry Harrison, and more, continued to play the music my generation grew up with.

I didn't always listen to it; sometimes they played a little too much of the 50's music that I wasn't as fond of. I alternated between CBS and an eclectic mix of classic rock and public radio stations that featured folk and alternative music.

But I always knew CBS was there like an old friend, and all I had to do is switch to 101.1 and I'd hear the voices I grew up listening to, and the music that was the background to my youth.

Then one day about 2 years ago, it changed. CBS abruptly switched over to a format called "Jack." With no DJ's, no call-ins, no personality, the station was playing a mixture of music types that I couldn't even describe. It wasn't offensive or hard on the ears; it just did nothing for me.

I occasionally read about CBS and how its new format was faring. I read how their ratings were sinking, and I kept thinking what a mistake they had made. But it didn't occur to me they would actually bring back the old format.

I listen to their sister AM station, CBS 88 Newsradio, and one day I heard them announcing that 101.1 was switching back to oldies as of that Thursday, July 12! So, on that day, I switched on CBS 101.1, and lo and behold, the oldies were back, and even better than before! Gone was the 50's doo-wop music. The format is now 60's, 70's and 80's - the exact timeframe that fits my age group!

Now I hear my favorite songs as I'm driving to work. It's amazing how a song can bring back memories. Proust may have had his madeleines that sparked his recall of an entire thousand-page tome of memories. I have "Hang on Sloopy", "Summer Breeze" and "I Think We're Alone Now."

"Hang on Sloopy" was my favorite song back in 1965 when I was about 12. I remember dancing to it at a school dance in 7th grade. I think I may have had the 45 (remember 45's?) but I don't know what happened to it.

"I Think We're Alone Now," by Tommy James and the Shondells, came out in 1967, but to me it will always make me think of the Summer of '71 when two of my friends and I rode around in a '57 Chevy (I kid you not) with two older guys. The one who owned the car had an 8-track tape player and had the tape of the group's greatest hits. All I have to do is hear "I Think We're Alone Now," "Sweet Cherry Wine," or "Mirage," and I'm back in that old car careening around the New Jersey suburbs on a hot summer night with my friends and these guys.

"Summer Breeze" was a big hit back in 1972 when I was in college. Everyone had the album and I remember lying out on a blanket in the "quad" in the May sunshine along with everyone else, studying for exams. Someone would put on Seals & Crofts' album in their dorm room with the window open and the speakers blasting the music out over the quad while we all tried to get some sun, slathered with baby oil, while studying at the same time.

Almost every song from that era can trigger a specific time and place to me. Although they say smell is the one sense that triggers memories more than any other, I think music must be a close second.

Update:

Ironically, shortly after I wrote the above post, I happened upon this article, which explains the reasons behind why our favorite songs are the ones we learn during our youth.

Apparently, research shows that the human brain is at its peak from age 16-21 and absorbs new experiences best at this age. So now we know why we all have such fond memories of the songs of our teen and young adult years!

14 comments:

knicksgrl0917 said...
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Larry said...

Your post brings back good memories. They don't make music like that anymore.

I travel all over the country for my job by car, and I hear a lot of oldies stations as I travel.

I think it is coming back.

Larry said...

Mauigirl,

This guy has a popular political blog and he is a regular commenter on Lydia;s blog as you are, search his blog on the right side and you will find a link to his oldies music site.

Divided States of Bush

Mauigirl said...

Hi Larry, thanks for the link to the Divided States of Bush - looks good. Will check out the oldies music site too!

Larry said...

Mauigirl,

He just has redone the music site and it is a lot better.

I like the oldies.

TomCat said...

Mauigirl, that's a trip. I used to listen to AM 77 when I lived in NYC in the 1960s.

Larry, I'm a regular at Chuck's blog and never realized he has a separate oldies blog. Duh! Thanks!

Mauigirl said...

Tomcat,
Remember going Down the Shore and lying on the beach at Seaside and hearing nothing but WABC blaring from every beach blanket?

Just checked out the Oldies site on Chuck's blog - awesome! He seems a little fonder of David Bowie than I am but love the completeness of his lists of artists! And sometime when I'm not at work I'll click on the UTube videos/songs and listen to them!

Larry said...

Mauigirl,

I never realized until reading the article you added, why people our age like the oldies, and others like something else.

Interesting.

Femail doc said...

Current nursing home occupants sing "Daisy, daisy" and "you are my sunshine" during occupational therapy. Old geezer boomers will be rocking to "Hang on Sloopy" at the Home while the young aides, their pierced eyebrows raised, watch in amusement.

Mauigirl said...

LOL, you're right, Femail Doc! The Baby Boomers will definitely have their own music in the Home!

TomCat said...

Mauigirl, when I went down the shore, I went to my birthplace, Atlantic City, NJ.

Mauigirl said...

Those born "down the shore" don't call it "down the shore," I guess! My husband grew up near Sandy Hook so they just went "to the beach."

Liz said...

AS soon as I saw the words, I think we're alone now, I started singing it!

That theory would make sense. Although in those days I listened to 'new' music on the radio; I don't do that any more ("Pah, today's youngsters don't know what good music is!") so I'm not likely to pick up on new songs.

"Daisy, Daisy" was the song I sang to rock my babies to!

TomCat said...

I never called it that until I moved to NYC and picked it up there.