Song of the Day: Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops, “The Stars and Stripes Forever”

Last night when I went to bed, I thought, “I’m forgetting something,” and at about 3 AM I remembered: I hadn’t set up the Song of the day…

It’s kind of a tradition here at The Sound of One Hand Typing to play this on Independence Day, and I’m not about to break tradition now. John Phillip Sousa wrote this in 1895 on a trans-Atlantic voyage. When he got home, he committed it to paper, and never changed it. It’s the official march of the United States. Arthur Fiedler, for many years the conductor of The Boston Pops Orchestra, loved this piece of music, and the Pops recorded it on a number of occasions and frequently played it at the end of their concerts, especially the annual Independence Day celebration on the Esplanade in Boston. The tradition has continued under subsequent directors John Williams and Keith Lockhart.

It’s All Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye #socs

First, to my fellow Americans, a Happy Independence Day! And to everyone else, a Happy 4th of July!

Today is a day for picnics and lawn games, like bean bag toss, or as we call it in the South, cornhole. (I’m fully aware that “cornhole” has another, less polite meaning. We won’t discuss that.) Far from being just a dumb lawn game you play on picnics, there are some people who are really into it on an almost professional level. There’s even a governing body. In fact, there are two governing bodies, evidently. Not to mention instructional videos, like this one:

There are a lot of games that involve tossing something, such as bocce and pétanque, horseshoes, Frisbee, and my personal favorite, lawn darts, sometimes called Jarts. These, unfortunately, are no longer sold, because some parents thought they were dangerous and someone could lose an eye, or worse. Kind of like this…

(There is, by the way, a remake, if you’re interested.)

I think we can all learn from this: some toys are fine, provided they’re used under adult supervision, which, as any tween boy will tell you, takes all the fun out of it. Kind of like our fireworks video at the beginning of this post.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. And now a word from Wham-o, makers of the Slip ‘N Slide and the Water Wiggle, at toy, drug and department stores!

The Friday 5×2: WDGY (740 AM, Minneapolis-St. Paul), 7/4/64

WDGY has been broadcasting from Hudson, Wisconsin into the Minneapolis-St.Paul area since 1956. Since 740 AM is a clear-channel station (CFZM in Toronto has the clear-channel rights), it’s a daytime-only station, though they also broadcast on 92.1 FM W22BS in St. Paul 24 hours a day. They’re currently playing oldies, but in the 1960’s the were second only to KDWB in the Minneapolis market.

Odd for July 1964, The Beatles aren’t in the Top 10, though they make their presence known. You’ll see what I mean shortly.

  1. Rita Pavone, “Remember Me”: Italian teen star Rita had just one hit in the US, this one, but was very popular in Europe, recording 13 albums for the Italian market.
  2. Earl-Jean, “I’m Into Something Good”: Earl-Jean was a member of The Cookies, who sang backup on this record. The song was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, who had put together another version of The Cookies after that group became the Raelettes (Ray Charles’s backup singers).
  3. Gerry & The Pacemakers, “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying”: Another Merseybeat band from Liverpool, managed by Brian Epstein and produced by George Martin. This reached #4 in the US.
  4. Millie Small, “My Boy Lollipop”: Jamaican singer Millie Small introduced the US audience to ska with this single, which went to #2 on the Hot 100 and was in the Top 10 through most of the rest of the world. She just passed away in May.
  5. The Searchers, “Don’t Throw Your Love Away”: A cover of The Orlons’ hit, it reached #1 in the UK and #16 in the US. The Searchers were another Merseybeat band….
  6. Peter & Gordon, “World Without Love”: Peter Asher and his sister Jane were child actors. Jane dated Paul McCartney from 1963 to 1968, and Paul wrote several songs that Peter & Gordon recorded, inclding this one, which reached #1 in the US and the UK.
  7. Dave Clark 5, “Can’t You See That She’s Mine”: The Tottenham Sound is represented on this survey by this song, which reached #4 in the US.
  8. Johnny Rivers, “Memphis”: Johnny Rivers was successful early in his career with “Memphis” and “Maybelline,” both Chuck Berry hits. Both songs were ecorded at The Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles. This reached #2 in the US and #1 in Canada.
  9. Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, “Bad To Me”/”Little Children”: Billy J. Kramer was also from Liverpool, and “Bad To Me” was written by Lennon-McCartney. “Little Children” received more attention, reaching #1 in the UK and #7 in the US, while “Bad To Me” failed to chart.
  10. The Beach Boys, “I Get Around”/”Don’t Worry Baby”: “I Get Around” was the A side, and as such reached #1 on the US and Canadian charts, while “Don’t Worry Baby” reached #24 in the US.

Next week, Five For Friday will replace The Friday 5×2, while our weekly look at a historic radio station survey moves to Tuesday as Top Ten Tuesday. See you then!

Song of the Day: Bananarama, “Venus”

I remember Shocking Blue’s original recording of “Venus,” which was a staple of 8th grade dances way back when. Bananarama had wanted to cover this as a dance song, but their producers were against it, thinking it wouldn’t be a good fit. Guess the ladies had a better idea than their producers, as this reached the Top 10 in most of the world, including #1 on the Hot 100 and on Billboard‘s Dance chart in 1986. It also marked a shift from their early image of being more tomboy than femme fatal.

Writer’s Workshop: “Inside Pitch: Insiders Reveal How the Ill-Fated Seattle Pilots Got Played into Bankruptcy in One Year”


Hey, guess what? I’m going to do a couple of the prompts today: talking about the last book I read and writing a post prompted by the word “fate.”

This year has not been friendly to anyone, with almost everything being shut down because of Covid-19, and it’s been particularly rough on baseball fans, because the season was supposed to start at the end of March and here it is, almost when the All-Star break was scheduled, and there has yet to be one inning of the National Pastime played. I’ve been keeping busy and getting my baseball fill by watching old episodes of Home Run Derby, old World Series films, and whatever games I can find on YouTube, and re-reading books like Ball Four by Jim Bouton. That book looks at his 1969 season, when the American and National Leagues each added two teams, split each league into two divisions and introduced divisional play.

Bouton played for the Seattle Pilots that season, one of the two franchises added to the American League. It turns out that it would be the only season for the Pilots, as the team went broke and had to be rescued by a new owner, Milwaukee car salesman Bud Selig, who bought the team and assumed its debt before moving them to Milwaukee and making them the Brewers. I never quite understood why that happened until I read Rick Allen’s book Inside Pitch: Insiders Reveal How the Ill-Fated Seattle Pilots Got Played into Bankruptcy in One Year. It tells the story of a couple of young men who held pretty high positions in the Pilots organization and the lengths that they went to, that were nevertheless not enough.

Expansion hadn’t been planned until the early 1970’s, but a situation forced the leagues into doing it earlier. Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City A’s, got the approval of the other American League owners to move his team to Oakland beginning with the 1968 season. Kansas City, that was at the time building a new ballpark for the A’s, threatened to sue unless they got a team by 1969. So expansion was moved up to 1969, and the Pilots suddenly had months rather than years to secure financing and put a team on the field.

With that inauspicious beginning, the Pilots never really had a chance. Their home park, Sicks Stadium, wasn’t up to major league standards, though they did the best they could. They had done well in the expansion draft, snagging a young player named Lou Piniella, who could very easily have become the face of the franchise had the general manager not traded him to Kansas City. They had some good young players, but the team was generally composed of fading stars, journeyman players, and other castoffs. They did finish the season and did about as well as expansion teams ever did in those days, but 1970 was a question mark: could they raise the money needed to pay off their debts and be financially stable in 1970 and beyond?

The answer was “no,” and Seattle lost the franchise in 1970 to Milwaukee. Which ended a lot of worry on the South Side of Chicago, where White Sox fans were convinced that Arthur Allyn would sell the White Sox to Bud Selig, who would then take them to Milwaukee.

Losing the Pilots didn’t go over especially well with people in Seattle, who now were ready to sue the American League because they had been promised a baseball team and now didn’t have one. There was talk that the White Sox, who were then for sale, would be sold to the Seattle group and move there. Ironically, Charlie Finley, who had caused all this drama, said that if the White Sox moved, he’d move the A’s to Chicago.

The book itself was just fair, maybe 3 out of 5 stars, but was good for the information it had.