The Cruisin series is a collection of records with music from various years. The series not only includes the original songs by the original artists from a particular year but also includes a Disk Jockey (D. J.) from a particular radio station all across North America. Included with the music is original radio advertisements (commercials), some public service announcements, radio station jingles, D. J. banter and numerous other goings on to make the record sound like it was recorded right from a live studio broadcast. This series was originally released on 33 1/3rd r.p.m. record albums in 1972 beginning with the year 1955. Some sources indicate they were released in 1993 and others mention several other different years. After further investigation I have determined that the 1972 release date is in fact correct but that the series was released again several different times and that accounts for the varying dates of release.
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I have also determined that there were changes made from the original releases that shortened the total length of the re-releases by eliminating/removing a few songs off of each years records. The cassettes besides having all the same information off the front cover of the album also have this below each year as well A History of Rock & Roll Radio. Also every album, CD and cassette front cover had a colorful drawing of 2 kids wearing clothes from that period. The 2 young kids in this continuing story line were Peggy a pretty blonde girl who has a crush on Eddie who was a red head who mostly dreams about fast cars. One or both would have a balloon above them with what they were either saying or thinking. As the years continued you would see them get a little older, their clothes style would change and things around them would also move along with the times.
On the very first in the series Cruisin 1955 the two kids are checking out some books from the public library. Eddie is looking out the window as his hot red convertible sportscar as Peggy is looking at him. In this picture Peggy has the balloon above her head as she is thinking to herself, Gee, I wonder if hell ever look at me like that?
The second album in the series Cruisin 1956 with the continuing story on the front cover is with Peggy leaning up against the rear of a 1956 car (hard to tell make or model) with rear tail fins. Eddie is leaning on the side of the car against the door with his right elbow on the roof holding a cigarette in his right hand with a Band-Aid on his left hand. You see a building in the background that has Central High on it, an American Flag flying proudly in the wind and an airplane flying overhead. Peggy says to Eddie There was a rumble at the drive-in last night wasnt there? Eddie replies Why ask me?
The 3rd record in the series Cruisin 1957 continues on the front cover with Peggy standing in her house doorway looking at Eddie who is standing on her front porch with his car behind him you see its nighttime and see a full moon. Peggy says Eddie! I thought you were grounded! Howja get off?. Eddie is standing with his hands in his pockets and says No sweat, Hey! They think Im working!
The 4th record in this series Cruisin 1958 has Peggy sitting in a convertible looking at Eddie who is in a dark green uniform working at a Gas Station. He is washing her car windshield and in the background you see some gas pumps and a sign with the prices on it of $19.9 for Regular gas and $22.9 for Ethyl gas. (Comment: Those prices are really unbelievable, was gas really that cheap in 1958? Holy, Cowabunga Batman!) Peggy asks Listen Eddie, are we going steady or arent we? and Eddie responds Jeez, Peg, lay off! Im lucky to have a job this summer!
The 5th record in the series Crusin 1959 shows Eddie driving down the street with Peggy next to him in the car. There is a huge pair of fuzzy dice hanging from his rear view mirror. Eddie says: It was my Draft Notice hows that grab you?. Peggy replies with: Oh, no, Eddie! Not at a time like this!
This 6th record in the series Cruisin 1960 takes place at a Drive In theater. So we see a sign outside a fence surrounding the parking area that indicates: Psycho and The Time Machine, Dollar-A-Car-Night. (WOW those were the days when you piled 6 or more inside the car and snuck in a few more in the trunk to see 2 movies for a Buck! We have a Drive-In theater here in Jacksonville and its $4.00 a person for 2 movies on Friday or Saturday nights. My wife and I do go there from time to time on Saturday nights.) We see Peggy sitting in the front seat of a convertible and a strange boy has his arm around her neck. She is glancing back and spots Eddie in an Army uniform in the front seat of a car with his arm around the neck of a strange girl. Peggy looks like she is about to cry and says Its
The host D. J. for this record is Dick Biondi from WKBW in Buffalo, New York. Dick was born on 13 September 1933 in Endicott, New York. His entertainment career began at radio station WCBA in Corning, New York in the early 1950s. In 1958 he moved on to Buffalo, New York to work at WKBW AM radio. He went to WLS in Chicago, Illinois in 1960 which at the time was broadcasting at 50,000 watts and because of this could be heard up and down the east coast at night and some clear nights out mid-west. (I picked up this station myself quite often in upstate New York and a very small portable transistor radio.) It was because of his 3 year tenure at this station that makes him the most recognizable name in this entire series. He left Chicago in 1963 and began working at KRLA radio AM in Los Angeles, California.
In 1967 he returned to Chicago to work at WCFL AM radio. 6 years later he left Chicago for a second time and ventured south to work at WNMB radio in North Myrtle Beach in South Carolina in 1973. Ten years later he returned to Chicago for a 3rd time to work at WBBM FM radio but moved over to the new Oldies radio station in Chicago WJMK radio the next year. He remained there for his longest stint of his career up until June 2005 a total of 21 years, when the station changed its format to adult rock. He continued with his oldies music format on a digital subcarrier HD2 until he was released in July 2006. In November 2006 he began his most recent stay working at WZZN 94.7 FM radio in Chicago. The format at his current station is his favorite as they play music from the 50s, 60s and 70s and claim to be the True Oldies station.
His show airs weeknights from 9 PM to midnight Chicago time and the station can be heard via the Internet at http://www.947trueoldies.com/ (As I was typing up this review/posting this Friday night, 20 April 2007 I was also listening to him on his show over the Internet. He sounds the same as I remember hearing him in the early 1960s. More to come on this live listening experience at the very bottom of my review.) Dick has been working in radio as an announcer (D. J.) for over 50 years and is still going strong. In 1998 he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame and into the Radio wing of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His nicknames over the years have included Big Mouth, The Screamer and his most famous one of The Wild I-tralian.
The first thing you here at the very beginning of this record is the opening theme music for the "Dick Biondi" show. The 1st song follows this on side 1 in You Talk Too Much by Joe Jones. This song made its national chart debut on 19 September 1960 and peaked at #3 on the pop chart. This medium speed R&B song is considered a novelty song. Joe was born on 12 August 1926 in New Orleans and was the pianist and valet for Blues and R&B legend B. B. King in the 1950s. Joe only ever had one other charting record in his career in California Sun in 1961 that peaked at #89 on the pop chart. The same version of this song was redone by The Rivieras and it peaked at #5 for them in 1964.
Following this song we hear a St. Mary's Record Hop Plug by Dick and then we hear Little Anthony & The Imperials singing Tears On My Pillow. This very slow R&B love song debuted nationally on 11 August 1958 as their first charting record peaking at #4 on the pop chart. This group formed in Brooklyn, New York City in 1957 and they had 19 hits on the pop charts from 1958 to 1974. I am really not sure why a song from 1958 was on this album for 1960?
Up next is a quick spot for the WKBW Big Weather followed by Baby (Youve Got What It Takes) by Brook Benton & Dinah Washington. This medium to fast R&B hit made its debut on 25 January 1960, peaked at #5 on the pop chart, peaked at #1 on the R&B chart and sold over 1 million copies. Brook had 50 songs on the charts from 1958 to 1970 with no number one hits on the pop charts but 4 that sold over 1 million copies. Dinah had 21 songs on the charts from 1959 to 1963 with no number 1 pop hits and this song was her only to sell over a million copies.
We next hear a Wardynski Sausage commercial followed by Jack Scott singing What In The World's Come Over You. This beautiful, slow, love ballad made its national debut on 11 January 1960 later peaking at #5 on the pop chart and selling over 1 million copies. Jack was born Jack Scafone Jr. on 28 January 1936 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Jack was a singer, songwriter, played the guitar and wrote most of his own songs. He had 19 songs on the pop charts from 1958 to 1961 with no number 1 hits and one other million selling hit in his debut single MyTrue Love that peaked at #3.
Next up on the album is Biondi's Pick of the Week in the great fast rocking song Finger Poppin Time by Hank Ballard And The Midnighters. This song debuted nationally on 16 May 1960 and peaked at #7 on the pop chart. This R&B group formed in 1952 in Detroit originally as The Royals. In 1953 they replaced the lead singer Lawson Smith with Ballard and changed their group name to The Midnighters later changing it one more time to the current name. They had 13 songs on the pop charts from 1959 to 1962 with no number 1 hits.
When this song finishes we hear a great old original Budweiser® beer commercial. This is followed by the final song on side one with The Tempos singing See You In September. This slow pop love song made its debut on 29 June 1959 peaking at #24 for them on the pop chart. This group formed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1957 and this was their only record on the charts. Over the years many different artists have recorded this song. My all-time favorite version of this song was performed by the Happenings in 1966 that peaked at #3 for them. I also like the versions by The Chiffons and the one by Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids. Side 1 ends with a WKBW radio station I. D.
Side 2 begins with the big hit Alley-Oop sung by The Hollywood Argyles. This novelty song made its national chart debut on 30 May 1960. This was their only charting record but it peaked at #1 and sold over 1 million copies. It was released 2 other times in 1960 by Dante & The Evergreens who had it peak at #15 for them and by The Dyna-Sores who had it peak at #59 for them. A classic award winning Gillette razor blade jingle and commercial follows this song.
We then hear the slow R&B love song Stay by Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs. This song made its debut on 3 October 1960, peaked at #1 on both the pop and R&B charts. This R&B group formed in Lancaster, South Carolina as The Gladiolas but changed their name to the The Zodiacs in 1959 and then changed it one more time in 1960. They had 2 other songs on the pop charts but neither made the Top 40 so they are considered a one-hit wonder group.
The song finishes and it is followed by a Gennessee beer commercial and then it is followed by Running Bear by Johnny Preston. This fast paced novelty hit made its chart debut on 12 October 1959, peaked at #1 on the pop chart where it stayed for 3 weeks and sold over 1 million copies. This song was written by the Big Bopper who was born Jiles Perry Richardson and also provided backing vocals and Indian sounds. Jiles was one of the 3 great Rock N Roll stars to die in the plane crash on 3 February 1959 in Iowa along with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Country singer George Jones also provided Indian sounds on Prestons hit single. Jiles had also written a big #1 country hit for Jones in White Lightning that stayed at #1 for 5 consecutive weeks and sold over 1 million copies. Preston had 5 singles on the pop charts from 1959 to 1961 but this was his only number 1 hit and his only to sell over a million copies.
Dick does a funny bit talking about the King Elvis Presley then plays The Big Hurt by Miss Toni Fisher. This was her first charting record and would be her biggest seller of 3 charting records. This slow pop love song made its chart debut on 16 November 1959 and peaked at #3. Toni was born in Los Angeles, California in 1931 and died of a heart attack at age 67 on 12 February 1999 in Hyrum, Utah.
We hear next a very classic L & M cigarette commercial followed by Because Theyre Young by Duane Eddy. This was Duanes 2nd of 3 million selling records and it debuted on 23 May 1960 and peaked at #4 on the pop chart. He was born on 26 April 1938 in Corning, New York and began playing the guitar at the age of 5. From 1958 to 1986 he had a total of 28 records on the pop charts in the U.S. most of which were instrumentals.
Dick thanks everyone for making the Norwich High School record sock-hop such a big success. This is followed by the final song on the album Fannie Mae by Buster Brown. This R&B song made its national chart debut on 1 February 1960, peaked at #38 and was his only top 40 pop hit of 3 records he had on the charts. Buster was born Wayman Glasco on 15 August 1911 in Cordele, Georgia.
Now for some oddities, omissions, etc. The cassette and the album re-releases begins on side 1 or A with Big Boy Pete by The Olympics which is not on this original album. One other song on the cassette not on this album is the 4th song on the 1st side Angel Baby by Rosie And The Originals which I heard tonight on Dicks live show. This album has 12 songs on it the cassette had only 10 songs. The 4 songs on this album that are not on the cassette are You Talk Too Much, Tears On My Pillow, Finger Poppin Time and See You In September.
Full original album track listings and my rating of each song follows below
Side 1 (A)
Dick Biondi Theme intro.
You Talk Too Much - Joe Jones (2:30) - 4
St. Mary's Record Sock-Hop plug
Tears On My Pillow - Little Anthony & The Imperials (2:05) - 5
WKBW Big Weather
Baby (Youve Got What It Takes) - Brook Benton & Dinah Washington (2:42) - 3
Wardynski Sausage Commercial
What In The World's Come Over You - Jack Scott (2:39) - 5
Biondi's Pick of the Week
Finger Poppin' Time - Hank Ballard & The Midnighters (2:30) - 5
Budweiser® beer commercial
See You In September - The Tempos (2:01) - 5
WKBW station ID
Side 2 (B)
Alley-Oop - The Hollywood Argyles (2:55) - 5
Gillette razor blade commercial and Jingle
Stay - Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs (1:37) - 5
Genessee beer commercial
Running Bear - Johnny Preston (2:33) - 5
Elvis Presley Bit
The Big Hurt - Toni Fisher (2:09) - 5
L & M cigarette commercial
Because They're Young - Duane Eddy (1:59) - 5
Norwich High Record sock-hop "Thank You"
Fannie Mae - Buster Brown (2:48) - 3
TOTAL POINTS: 52 POINTS DIVIDED BY 12 SONGS = 4.333 or 4 1/2 STARS
5 - Great
4 - Very Good
3 - Good
2 - Fair
1 - Poor
0 - This song does not belong on this record
JAGUARDOG'S FINAL THOUGHTS
This record in my opinion was not too bad in the song selection except for maybe 3 songs, 2 I rated below 5 stars and the 1 song I mentioned earlier that was released in 1958. There are some great albums coming up in this collection as I continue covering all the years. There are a few more perfect 5 Star rating albums in this series yet to come. I hope you are enjoying this series a little bit and continue to return and read many more to come? Cruisin 1961 is up next with another great song selection on it. Im sure the 60s part of this collection, will spark more interest than the 1950s did and hopefully more comments as well? Here is a little hint of some of the songs on 1961:
Daddys Home - 5
Nadine - 5
Peanut Butter - 5
Runaway - 5
Wooden Heart - 5
And much, much more
I am including a list of all the years in this series so everyone can see the radio stations that were included and the D. J. that was used for each year.
1955 - KSAN - San Francisco, CA - Jumpin' George Oxford
1956 - WKMH - Detroit, MI - Robin Seymour
1957 - WIBG - Philadelphia, PA - Joe The Rockin Bird Niagara (Also known as Wibbage radio)
1958 - WIL - St. Louis, MO - Jack Carney
1959 - KGFJ - Los Angeles, CA - Hunter Hancock (Also called "Huntin' with Hunter")
1960 - WKBW - Buffalo, NY - Dick Biondi
1961 - WMEX - Boston, MA - Arnie 'Woo Woo' Ginsberg
1962 - KLIF - Dallas, TX - Russ 'Weird Beard' Knight
1963 - WMCA - New York City, NY - B. Mitchell Reed (Also known as the WMCA 'Good Guys')
1964 - WHK - Cleveland, OH - Johnny Holiday (Also known as 'The Joy Boys')
1965 - KHJ - Los Angeles, CA - Robert W. Morgan (Also called Boss Angeles) - 1st city used twice
1966 - KJR - Seattle, WA - Pat O'Day
1967 - WQXI - Atlanta, GA - Dr. Don Rose (Also known is Quixie in Dixie)
1968 - WCAO - Baltimore, MD - Johnny Dark
1969 - WPGC - Washington, D.C. - Harv Moore, The Boy Next Door
1970 - WLS - Chicago, IL - Kris Erik Stevens
Cruisin' with Porky Chedwick - WAMO - Pittsburgh, PA
The Cruisin' Years (Best Of) - Compilation of songs, ads, jingles, etc. from 1955 to 1963
Well that about wraps up this time travel back to 1960, time to return to the present! Thanks for dropping by to read and rate and please feel free to leave any comments or just a quick note on what radio station or DJ from yesteryear not on the above list you can vividly remember? As always I hope everyone has a Safe and Wonderful Weekend and God Bless, Ron.
BONUS: Billboard's Top 30 Pop Hits of 1960
1. The Theme From A Summer Place Percy Faith & His Orchestra peaked at #1 for 9 weeks
2. Are You Lonesome To-night?/I Gotta Know Elvis Presley peaked at #1 for 6 weeks
3. Its Now Or Never/A Mess Of Blues Elvis Presley peaked at #1 for 5 weeks
4. Cathys Clown The Everly Brothers peaked at #1 for 5 weeks
5. Stuck on You/Fame And Fortune Elvis Presley peaked at #1 for 4 weeks
6. Running Bear Johnny Preston peaked at #1 for 3 weeks
7. Im Sorry/Thats All You Gotta Do Brenda Lee peaked at #1 for 3 weeks
8. Save The Last Dance For Me The Drifters peaked at #1 for 3 weeks
9. El Paso Marty Robbins peaked at #1 for 2 weeks
10. Teen Angel Mark Dinning peaked at #1 for 2 weeks
11. Everybodys Somebodys Fool/Jealous Of You Connie Francis peaked at #1 for 2 weeks
12. My Heart has A Mind Of Its Own/Malaguena Connie Francis peaked at #1 for 2 weeks
13. The Twist Chubby Checker peaked at #1 (re-released in 1961 and peaked at #1 for 2 weeks)
14. Stay Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs peaked at #1
15. Why/Swingin On A Rainbow Frankie Avalon peaked at #1
16. Alley-Oop The Hollywood Argyles peaked at #1
17. Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini Brian Hyland peaked at #1
18. I Want To Be Wanted/Just A Little Brenda Lee peaked at #1
19. Mr. Custer Larry Verne peaked at #1
20. Georgia On My Mind Ray Charles peaked at #1
21. Last Date Floyd Cramer peaked at #2 for 4 weeks
22. Greenfields The Brothers Four peaked at #2 for 4 weeks
23. Hell Have To Go Jim Reeves peaked at #2 for 3 weeks
24. Chain Gang Sam Cooke peaked at #2 for 2 weeks
25. Puppy Love/Adam And Eve Paul Anka peaked at #2 for 2 weeks
26. Only the Lonely (Know How I Feel) Roy Orbison peaked at #2
27. Walk - Dont Run The Ventures peaked at #2
28. Handy Man Jimmy Jones peaked at #2
29. Wild One/Little Bitty Girl Bobby Rydell peaked at #2
30. Poetry In Motion Johnny Tillotson peaked at #2
Now to my experience listening to Dicks show live from Chicago over the Internet tonight. This was truly an amazing experience to hear someone from my great listening past playing the great songs of yesteryear. Before Dicks show came on at 9PM I began listening at 8:30 with someone by the name of Scott Shannon and heard the following on his segment. This weekend is their Fabulous 50s Weekend where every 4th or 5th song is from the 1950s.
There was a segment called the Special Time Machine Countdown of the Top 5 greatest hits by the Hollies. You hear about 20 to 30 seconds of songs number 5 up to number 2 and then hear the entire number 1 song. Here is how the list went according to Scott and his Oldies Time Machine:
5. Stop, Stop, Stop
4. He Aint Heavy, Hes My Brother (Elton John on piano)
3. The Air that I Breath
2. Bus Stop
1. Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress
So I dont get too carried away with a huge list Ill just provide you with some of the other great 5 star songs I heard tonight which were:
A Teenager In Love Dion and The Belmonts 1959 peaked at #5
Everlasting Love Robert Knight 1967 peaked at #13
Ferry Cross The Mersey Gerry & The Pacemakers 1965 peaked at #6
For What Its Worth (Stop, Hey Whats That Sound) Buffalo Springfield 1967 peaked at #7
From Me To You The Beatles 1964 peaked at #41 (This was the B side for Please Please Me that peaked at #3)
House Of The Rising Sun The Animals 1964 peaked at #1 for 3 weeks
I Dig Rock And Rock Music Peter, Paul & Mary 1967 peaked at #9
Just Like Me Paul Revere & The Raiders 1965 peaked at #11
Lil Red Riding Hood Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs 1966 peaked at #2 for 2 weeks
Lonely Teardrops Jackie Wilson 1959 peaked at #7
Magic Carpet Ride Steppenwolf 1968 peaked at #3
Mr. Blue The Fleetwoods 1959 peaked at #1for 4 weeks
One Three Dog Night 1969 peaked at #5
Shes A Lady Tom Jones 1971 peaked at #2
Smile A Little Smile For Me (Rose Marie) The Flying Machine 1969 peaked at #5
Tell Her No The Zombies 1965 peaked at #6
Wouldnt it Be Nice The Beach Boys peaked at #8
Since there is a one hour difference from my time zone to Chicago the above was heard on Scotts show from 8:30 to 10:00 my time. Dicks intro. music came on at the end of Magic Carpet Ride and you hear an announcer say Welcome to Dick Biondis Friday Night Oldies Request Party followed by Jailhouse Rock by the King Elvis Presley. He then plays his 1st request from cyberspace in Precious Love by Bob Welch then by Twist & Shout by The Beatles. His next song is another request by Louis Satchmo Armstrong in What A Wonderful World.
I then decided to try and find the website link to send in a request for A Horse With No Name by America or Walk Away Renee by The Left Banke. I sent him my email at 10:30 PM my time and 30 minutes later at 11 PM he played Walk Away Renee. That was totally awesome for him to respond so quickly to an email like that.
Some of the 5 star songs that Dick played were:
Angel Baby Rosie And The Originals 1960 peaked at #5
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown Jim Croce 1973 #1 for 2 weeks
Blueberry Hill Fats Domino 1956 peaked at #2 for 3 weeks
Bottle Of Wine Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs 1967 peaked at #9
But Its Alright J. J. Jackson 1966 peaked at #22
California Dreamin The Mamas & The Papas 1966 peaked at #4
Day Tripper The Beatles 1966 peaked at #5 (This was the B side for We Can Work It Out that peaked at #1 for 3 weeks)
Double Shot (Of My Babys Love) Swingin Medallions 1966 peaked at #17
Ebb Tide The Righteous Brothers 1965 peaked at #5
Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter From Camp) Allan Sherman 1963 peaked at #2 for 3 weeks
Honey Bobby Goldsboro 1968 peaked at #1 for 5 weeks
I Gotcha Joe Tex 1972 peaked at #2 for 2 weeks
I Want To be Wanted Brenda Lee 1960 peaked at #1
In The Still of The Night The Five Satins 1956 peaked at #24
(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet The Reflections 1964 peaked at #6
Lazy Day Spanky And Our Gang 1967 peaked at #14
Little Girl Syndicate Of Sound 1966 peaked at #8
Mirage Tommy James & The Shondells 1967 peaked at #10
Pledging My Love Johnny Ace 1955 peaked at #17
River Deep Mountain High The Supremes & The Four Tops 1970 peaked at #14
Somethings Burning Kenny Rogers & The First Edition 1970 peaked at #11
Soul Man Sam & Dave 1967 peaked at #2 for 3 weeks
Sweet City Woman The Stampeders 1971 peaked at #8
Vehicle Ides Of March 1970 peaked at #2
Wild Weekend The Rebels 1962 peaked at #8
You Send Me Sam Cooke 1957 - #1 for 3 weeks
Dick closed his show with a great slow love song that I used to always play when I ended my show when I was a traveling D. J. back in the late 1960s early 1970s. That song was also the last song in the great musical Movie American Grafitti just before the credits rolled and you heard The Beach Boys. That song was Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight by The Spaniels from 1956.