smeagolsfree

Nashville Bits and Pieces

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I have a good and reliable source/friend at Postmates. They have close to 350 and it is much larger than their headquarters. And growing. They are working on taking an entire floor of Cummins station. 

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On ‎8‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 12:22 PM, jmtunafish said:

Some of you notice buildings, but I noticed the giant WKDA sign where the WKDF sign is today.  WKDA is now a small, Spanish radio station in Lebanon, but it used to be the first rock & roll station in Nashville back in the day.

WKDA was the first top 40 station in Nashville. I have a hard time separating Elvis from my idea of top 40 because starting in summer '55 he was ruling the airwaves and 45 rpm singles, which according to a wiki page outsold 78 rpm records in 1954 and after. Also when my family  moved from Atlanta to Nashville in summer '55 was exactly when he broke onto the airwaves with "Don't Be Cruel" and a cover of the R&B "Houndog". The wiki page says top 40 was the outgrowth of the 45 single but the term 'top 40' didn't come into use until '60. Note we are talking AM here with 3 minutes the usual song length. I started listening pretty regularly in '57 when I was 7, and my dad listened to WMAK which could have been referred to as easy listening or adult contemporary in today's terms. We had one table top tube radio which I would abscond with and put it on my window sill tuned to WKDA. My dad would come into the room and change it to WMAK. Then in the early '60's WMAK went top 40 and my dad referred that as "they've gone to the dogs". WMAK soon surpassed WKDA in ratings but I stayed loyal to WKDA until high school when I realized my friends were right, their D.J. 's didn't have the pizzazz by comparison. Meanwhile WKDA started up an FM station and I don't remember their early format but interestingly enough they tried the "underground" format starting early '70 that had been happening around the country (e.g. WGLD in Chicago) which was actually an anti-format for hippies, in other words free-form (based on hippie D.J. choice) anti-45 rock  on 33 r.p.m. album cuts. But all these stations painfully found out you can't make money off hippies and WKDA-FM was one of the last to try it and one of the first to bail probably after only a few months. What came next, outside the top-40 world was AOR, album oriented rock, stations creating huge playlists, (in other words no free-form) but later on based on consulting firms playlists to take advantage of the classic rock explosion, some of which had been staples of the "FM underground" movement such as J. Hendrix, Cream and Santana (each of which lobbed one into top 40 also). 

Wow didn't mean to take up so much space on this but is it not the case that WKDA is AM but WKDF is FM?

here is the wiki top=40 page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_40

Edited by dragonfly
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10 hours ago, dragonfly said:

 Wow didn't mean to take up so much space on this but is it not the case that WKDA is AM but WKDF is FM?

Cool. Living in the country, I couldn't get the signal of either station. So, the radio was tuned to WSM 650 at all times.

My Uncle was the electrician for WKDA in the 60's and my cousin and I got to go to music industry giant and station owner Buddy Killen's house on the hill in Donelson where Killen was hosting a party. We stayed a while in the afternoon and got to meet Roger Miller. The first celebrity I ever met.

The Music Row Roundabout is actually called Buddy Killen Circle. 

Nashville's two 'clear channel' stations were what made Nashville the Music City as WSM and WLAC blasted the signals across the nation during the night and had national followings. WSM made the Grand Ole' Opry the country music source and Bill 'Hoss' Allen of WLAC broadcast Rhythm and Blues music across the nation which gave African American music national exposure and influenced the creation of rock and roll to some extent.

That is why the radio tower is an iconic symbol in Nashville as represented by the tower in front of Bridgestone Arena.

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The radio tower symbolism in architectural design in Nashville extends to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum as well.

From Wikipedia:

”The tower on top of the Rotunda that extends down the Hall of Fame is a replica of the distinctive diamond-shaped WSM radio tower, which was originally built in 1932 just south of Nashville and is still in operation.”

 

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Edited by donNdonelson2
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57 minutes ago, PHofKS said:

Nashville's two 'clear channel' stations were what made Nashville the Music City as WSM and WLAC blasted the signals across the nation during the night and had national followings. WSM made the Grand Ole' Opry the country music source and Bill 'Hoss' Allen of WLAC broadcast Rhythm and Blues music across the nation which gave African American music national exposure and influenced the creation of rock and roll to some extent.

Thanks for the contribution. I'm in Houston now. In southeast Texas we have a heavy blues and R&B tradition (Lightnin' Hopkins, Albert Collins, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown) with contribution to blues rock from ZZ Top and the Winter brothers, mainly Johnny. I have not heard from anyone in Houston that WLAC reached here, but I do know that Johnny and Edger Winter in Beaumont used to listen, at night of course, to WLAC and Johnny credited the station for heavily influencing his artistic development. 

I used to listen while in high school (MBA) to WLAC and of course watched "Night Train" on the Friday night midnight slot. For some reason I can't remember Hoss on WLAC but do remember "John R." because of his distinctive bellowing of his name. Monday morning at school would many times find us students yapping it up before the 8:00 bell  about the previous "Night Train" show, where Jimi Hendrix played in the house band and later as a touring sideman for Buddy and Stacey, the earliest video in existence of Jimi. I'll let you in on something. About 10 years ago there was no wiki page for WLAC or the "Night Train" TV show, so I started both wiki pages wanting to document what I knew about the two Nashville cultural phenomena. Go look at both, and you will see the reference on the WLAC page to Johnny Winter's commenting on it after he achieved fame. I did meet Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) here in Houston but didn't think to ask him about WLAC, but if I cross paths with him again, will try to. I'm a regular player on the blues jam circuit and the classic rock circuit here in Houston, bass and sax

 

47 minutes ago, donNdonelson2 said:

The radio tower symbolism in architectural design in Nashville extends to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum as well.

From Wikipedia:

”The tower on top of the Rotunda that extends down the Hall of Fame is a replica of the distinctive diamond-shaped WSM radio tower, which was originally built in 1932 just south of Nashville and is still in operation.”

Wow brilliant. I had no idea on those two buildings what that was all about. Y'all should be proud.

BTW for what it's worth us teenagers in Nashville would tune in to another clear channel station, WLS Chicago, heavy duty top 40 with star power D.J.'s (e.g. Larry Loujack) in the '60's

Edited by dragonfly
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For many years of my misspent hillbilly youth I fell asleep to the sound of WLS on my little desktop radio. Chicago seemed like a million miles away. AM radio clear channel stations were transformative for lots of folks in those days!

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38 minutes ago, dragonfly said:

Thanks for the contribution. I'm in Houston now. In southeast Texas we have a heavy blues and R&B tradition (Lightnin' Hopkins, Albert Collins, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown) with contribution to blues rock from ZZ Top and the Winter brothers, mainly Johnny. I have not heard from anyone in Houston that WLAC reached here, but I do know that Johnny and Edger Winter in Beaumont used to listen, at night of course, to WLAC and Johnny credited the station for heavily influencing his artistic development. 

I remember the great dj 'Wolfman Jack' stating that he listened to WLAC from Brooklyn, NY and was influenced to go into radio and play the music inspired by what he heard. Per his wiki page, WLAC's John R. Richbourg was his mentor.

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1 hour ago, donNdonelson2 said:

For many years of my misspent hillbilly youth I fell asleep to the sound of WLS on my little desktop radio. Chicago seemed like a million miles away. AM radio clear channel stations were transformative for lots of folks in those days!

methinks we had the same childhood!    LOL      

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16 hours ago, titanhog said:

When I was in Leadership Music, they took us out to the WSM tower and we got to go inside the little building that stands near the base of the tower (on Concord Rd).  All kinds of really old equipment in there...and I believe they even used to broadcast from inside that building.

Fun fact:  During WWII, the WSM tower was designated to send transmissions to US submarines if ship-to-ship transmissions weren't working.

Another fun fact that I learned during Leadership Music is that the monicker "Music City" is rumored to have come about when Queen Victoria remarked that the Fisk Jubilee Singers must be from a great music city after hearing them sing in person in London not long after the Civil War (soon after Fisk and the Jubilee singers were founded and travelled to England).  This has never been confirmed to be true or not.

Lastly...WSM stands for "We Shield Millions" because the station was actually more of a marketing device for the National Life & Accident Insurance Company...which started the radio station.

I took a music history class at MTSU that said the same thing about the Jubilee singers and the Queen. It was a really interesting class and Nashville was quite prominent in the modern era, in fact the entire state of Tennessee has been extremely formative for modern music. Memphis, Nashville and Bristol have a wealth of history in bluegrass, country, blues, and rock. Having grown up visiting family often in all 3 grand divisions of Tennessee, I could really feel the different styles of music in them. It comes honest here. 

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12 hours ago, satalac said:

I took a music history class at MTSU that said the same thing about the Jubilee singers and the Queen. It was a really interesting class and Nashville was quite prominent in the modern era, in fact the entire state of Tennessee has been extremely formative for modern music. Memphis, Nashville and Bristol have a wealth of history in bluegrass, country, blues, and rock. Having grown up visiting family often in all 3 grand divisions of Tennessee, I could really feel the different styles of music in them. It comes honest here. 

OK You might not know but in the early '50's the Nashville boardroom and garden club set were very concerned about hillbilly music being recorded there and Nashville getting a reputation for the source of the music. When my dad moved us there in '55 for his job at L&C, he never told us about the 7 year old recording industry there at the time, probably because he didn't know about it. He probably knew about the Opry but didn't tell  us about that either. Within a couple of years, by the time I was 7 I realized there was something different going on there than in Atlanta. That was the year that the Everly brothers came out with "Bye Bye Love", and the intuition of the 7 year old immediately knew, without anyone telling me, that it came out of my new home town. There is some kind of magic process that let me in on that and I  can't explain it except to attribute it to a zeitgeist phenomenon that runs outside of the rational mind. And then in short order Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee, Roy Orbison, Floyd Cramer, Boots Randolph and all the rest came along and I knew the same too with them except gradually I'm hearing from other people about what was going on there. Somewhere in there country music came into my awareness. And of course Elvis was my hero but somehow, because of his recording of "Hound Dog" in NYC and other stuff in Memphis, I didn't make the Nashville intuitive connection so much for awhile, except for one experience. I was out in the back yard with a transistor radio at dusk on a nice evening. Elvis came on the radio with a song which became my favorite "His Latest Flame" and has been since. It felt very magical to me and I felt totally plugged in to something. I didn't know about all of Elvis's records at RCA in Nashville at that time so my rational mind didn't give the go ahead for the zeitgeist to let me in on the local connection, but looking back on it I think I felt it anyway without a rational go ahead. 

OK BTW a lot of younger people think the Nashville Sound is all about country music and a young writer for Texas Monthly made a completely wrong connection when he named some Texas pure country singers as participating in the Nashville Sound. The Nashville Sound was invented by Chet A, Floyd Cramer, Boots, and a few other producers, using piano, strings (from the Nashville Symphony) and an easy listening modality. Listen to "I'm Sorry" by Brenda Lee or "Last Date" by Floyd Cramer for early #1 top-40 hits with this sound.  This sound brought hundreds of $millions to Nashville in the '60's. Eddie Arnold got famous and ultrarich on the Nashville Sound, with his own major network TV show; Charlie Rich made a fortune on the sound with himself on piano ("Behind Closed Doors"). OK I recommend the wiki articles on the Everly Brothers, "Hound Dog" and the Nashville Sound. And will say it is stupefying to a lot of old timers like myself that the original fear from the intelligentsia over hillbilly reputation would eventually give way to a historical cachet for Nashville which is now driving an unbelievable tourism sector. And I close out with a link to my favorite Elvis song recorded there (and you should see the wiki page on it too):  

 

Edited by dragonfly
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Michael Nolan, who sometimes visits the Forum and has attended a few of our Meet-Ups, started a great website called "Notes on Nashville: Tips, time-savers, and local info for Nashville visitors and newcomers."  Nicely done by a long-time Nashville resident who want to be helpful to the influx of new folks (whether moving here permanently or just visiting.

http://notesonnashville.com/

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53 minutes ago, smeagolsfree said:

Very nice. Maybe we can give him some more ideas if he is so inclinned to asking on the board.

He's always looking for ideas and leads.  Feel free to send them to me in a personal message, and I will forward them along to him.   : )

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5 hours ago, markhollin said:

Michael Nolan, who sometimes visits the Forum and has attended a few of our Meet-Ups, started a great website called "Notes on Nashville: Tips, time-savers, and local info for Nashville visitors and newcomers."  Nicely done by a long-time Nashville resident who want to be helpful to the influx of new folks (whether moving here permanently or just visiting.

http://notesonnashville.com/

This is a fantastic find! I will add this to my list of city resources I share with friends who come to TPAC with touring shows.

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