Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Vanished From The Megahertz (1)

I am by no means a fan of the classic rock radio format. To me, listening to music that was starting to fade away when I was in high school ('79-'83) on any kind of regular basis is nauseating. While the hits that those particular bands die a thousand paper cuts on commercial radio, I actually don't mind listening to those bands entire body of work. Problem is, the only way to do that is to either dig out your old vinyl/c.d. reissues or listen to college radio.

Having said that, there are bands from that classic rock era, that for whatever reason have been regulated to the junk heap by the technocrats that run commercial radio, which I actually miss listening to.

The other day, I was listening to one of the man adult rock radio stations that pepper the country while driving to work one morning, and one of the two overly played Foreigner songs, "Jukebox Hero", came on the radio.

While the cheese grater vocals of Mick Jones was making my skin crawl (not sure who is worse, Mick Jones or Dave Mustaine), my brain started thinking about all of those so called "classic rock" bands that aren't being played on commercial radio stations.

What follows is by no means a comprehensive list, because even though it would be incredibly fun to do, I don't have that kind of time to kill. So, without further ado, here are the first half of my short list of bands who have disappeared from the airways.

Bad Co.

This band fits perfectly the definition of classic rock: radio hit, late 70's to just within the 80's presence. I always enjoyed listening to Bad Co., and my first Bad Co. album was High Rollers, which featured the song "Shooting Star". I have a couple other Bad Co. albums (Running With The Pack and Bad Co.), both of which have what are considered to be classic rock hits. But except for a cover of their hit "Bad Company", nothing can be found of them on the commercial FM dial. you might find them on college radio, but realistically, the only way you can probably listen to them is via Pandora radio.

By the way, they still have what I consider to be the best jacket photo for a 45. For the song "Smoke Without Fire", the have a picture of a child about the age of six, dressed in a 40's fashion motif, lighting a cigarette.

The Firm

Paul Rodgers & Jimmy Page's best known other band. They had two very good albums in the mid 80's (certainly qualifies as classic rock by today's myopic standards), with a couple of decent size radio hits that were overkilled then and should be overkilled today. But due to the powers that be, not a not is to be heard on the FM dial.

The Guess Who

This band simply screams classic rock. With more than enough radio friendly hits to choke a horse and people like Lenny Kravitz covering their music, they should be all over the FM dial. I mean, they are an anal retentive radio programmers wet dream. Music like theirs brings in the listeners, which means the bucks for advertising (I'm being a realist here), and yet, not a peep is heard of them on any kind of adult rock or classic rock format. If you love The Guess Who (or Burton Cummings for that matter), they came out with a very good live double album in the mid 80's called "The Best of The Guess Who Live", which features all of their FM hits plus a few lesser knowns, and features all of the original members.


  1. I could certainly go for more Bad Company and Guess Who. Not so much The Firm. I have to say I like Jukebox hero quite a bit myself.

  2. "...the man adult rock radio"

    Did you mean many?

    Or stations only for the macho dudes out in listening land??


    You sure touch some musical heartstrings in me -- those bands, some of their songs part of the fabric of my brain.

    And makes me think how era has it's "good" and "bad" music -- today included. funny how good stuff is timeless.


  3. Charles: I actually like "Jukebox Hero", but it's only one of two songs that they play to death out here, which is why it's fallen out of favor with me.

    The Firm was just one of the super groups that you either liked or didn't like {Power Station was another). I liked them because they weren't trying to be a clone of Led Zeppelin or any other of the pop/rock bands that were playing during that time period.

    Jannie: Hey there young lady!

    Yes, I meant to write "many", but manly could've been a much funnier word to use.

    Glad I was able to touch the musical side of you. :D

    I agree that its funny how timeless the good stuff can be.

  4. I thought Foreigner was Lou Gramm? Mick Jones was the guitarist for The Clash, no? The only reason I know this is because I dated a guy (British) with the same name.

    I like some cheesy 80s music but I hate it when they overplay songs like, say...Jukebox Hero.

  5. Foreigners "Urgent" would be my fave of theirs. I do it at Karioki...
    A sad thing you report- non-aired good music!
    I still have a working Best of Bad Co. cassette in little Truck listened to on my recent trip to Maine. Haven't heard the Firm in over a decade I think, now that you mention it. Have a few Guess Who hits on mix tapes somewhere.

    I don't understand why radio is so myopic now. TG for my oldie tapes here-

  6. M: You're right, it is Lou Gramm. Mick Jones still has the same kind of annoying vocals, so it's all good.

    A solid chunk of 80's music is cheesy (having grown up in the 80's makes me a semi-expert), but when they overkill certain songs (another post for another time), it makes me switch to another radio station.

    Joanne (the wife), witnessed me pulling this maneuver last night, when on the way to grocery shopping, we wound up listening to meringue/salsa music for several minutes.

    Snaggle: Don't get me wrong, I do really enjoy some classic rock music, but when they concentrate on a select few and nuke alot more, it drives me batty.

    I'm not a fan of greatest hits compilations, but I'm very tempted to pull a couple out and burn them to CD, just so I have something to listen to in the car.

  7. Man, your local classic rock station must suck. Bad Company, The Firm, and The Guess Who all get heavy rotation out here in the heartland.

  8. I was really thrilled when '80's music made it back onto the radio airwaves, but in the end all the overplay has taken the oomph out of my previously favourite songs. I think it's good that some gems of the era have remained untouched by this sad process.

  9. Mama Zee: They majorly suck. All the bands that were on the downside when I was in high school ('79-'83), get unbelievably heavy airplay.

    Plus, we got a normal rock station that for some bizarre reason plays U2.

    S.R.: I like some of the 80's music that's out there, but you're right, extremely heavy airplay has effectively killed my appreciation for that decade's music.

  10. The Baby's, ELO, Little River Band

  11. Bearman: Excellent choices and yes, I haven't heard any of them on the airwaves in years.


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