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Sun May 22 6:54 pm  #1


The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

I don't often listen to Ted Woloshyn's Saturday show - he spends too much time talking about food and wine for my taste. But CFRB was on in my car when I turned the key this weekend and they had on John Brower. He was the promoter of the now legendary Toronto Rock and Roll Revival concert held at Varsity Stadium back in 1969 that featured, among others, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, The Doors, Sly & The Family Stone and of course, then current Beatle John Lennon.

There's a lot in the interview about how it came about as a last minute Hail Mary pass. But for the purposes of this post, the story Brower tells about CHUM is equally enthralling. It turns out what was then the most famous rock station in Canada didn't believe the promoters had snagged Lennon, thought it was a publicity stunt that wasn't true and, as Brower notes, Duff Roman and others kept throwing his team out of 1331 Yonge St. when they came to beg for some on air mentions, after initial ticket sales were not what they expected. 

It's astounding to think CHUM wouldn't want to back a show they themselves had their call letters attached to, but because they believed Brower was a liar, they turned him down over and over again in the 24 hours plus before the big show. Once they found out he was telling the truth - a truth that almost didn't happen - they went crazy trumpeting it. 

It's a look back at one of the most famous concerts in Toronto history and why it almost turned into a disaster several times. I've heard the story before and you may have, too. But I haven't heard it told in so much detail and never directly from the mouth of the guy who actually lived it. 

I have to give Woloshyn this much - he shuts up and lets his guest tell this amazing story with few interruptions. You can listen to the whole thing on the May 21st podcast here. It starts at 32:25 and is worth the almost half hour or so to hear the story about how it came about, why it almost didn't and why this performance may have been the one of the real reasons the Beatles would break up soon after. 

The Toronto Rock and Roll Revival Concert

http://i.imgur.com/cZ4z1.jpg

 

Mon May 23 7:38 am  #2


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

Saturdays are a wasteland of paid programming and reruns, so I generally put on Woloshyn.  I agree, the segment with the guy who helped organize the famous 1969 concert was extremely interesting.  In fact, following the interview, I found all the footage on YouTube, and binge-watched for an hour or two.  2 things stood out:  the performance of Alice Cooper, whose music was nothing at all like the kind of hits he would produce a couple of years later, and the shockingly awful screeching of Yoko Ono.  Lennon MUST have been on heroin to allow that grating racket on stage. 

Last edited by Charlie (Mon May 23 3:20 pm)

 

Mon May 23 10:17 am  #3


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

Chuck Berry, Lennon & Yoko ..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9kgu71d81U
watch Chuck's eyes at 1:20 : ) 

ROTFL .. she sounds like someone stepped on a cat!

 

Mon May 23 6:34 pm  #4


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

Charlie wrote:

Saturdays are a wasteland of paid programming and reruns, so I generally put on Woloshyn.  I agree, the segment with the guy who helped organize the famous 1969 concert was extremely interesting.  In fact, following the interview, I found all the footage on YouTube, and binge-watched for an hour or two.  2 things stood out:  the performance of Alice Cooper, whose music was nothing at all like the kind of hits he would produce a couple of years later, and the shockingly awful screeching of Yoko Ono.  Lennon MUST have been on heroin to allow that grating racket on stage. 

Not to change the subject too much, but yeah, Saturdays can be pretty bad on the local dial. But there are some exceptions to that unfortunate rule, depending on what you're into.

I have very few "appointment" shows I never miss, but "Under The Influence," the CBC Radio 1 weekly that airs at 11:30 AM that day is one of them. Terry O'Reilly's look at the world of advertising and marketing is must hear radio for me. It's always entertaining, well written and well produced, I generally learn something I didn't know before, and this week, he did unusual and innovative radio spots from around the world, which was great.

Kim Komando's syndicated show about all things computer and Internet is a viable alternative after 1 PM on CKTB in St. Catharines.

Roy Green's three hours is pretty good on Corus, now originating out of CHML and heard here on AM 640 starting at 2 PM.

Oddly, though I almost never listen to the CBC, I find "The House" - which airs at 9 AM and wraps up the week in politics and the show that follows it an hour later - "Day 6" - are both pretty entertaining. And if worst comes to worst, and I need something mindless to listen to while out walking the dog, there's always CHAM's Funny 820 from Hamilton as a good time waster. All this is assuming you don't want music or the Jays, who this season so far have also been unfortunate time wasters!   

     Thread Starter
 

Mon May 23 9:54 pm  #5


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

I do listen to CBC now and then including some of the triple A of CBC radio two ( tho much less now as I find their selections have gotten narrower). I have to agree that Under The Influence is one of the best shows period but I find NPR more interesting than CBC for news and information. 

John Donabie's Mixed Bag is must Saturday listening for me but I can't always listen on Saturdays.


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Mon May 23 10:54 pm  #6


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

I used to be a big fan of Under the Influence until the episode called "Marketing in a crisis" that aired in 2012.

It revolved around the Costa Concordia disaster but, unfortunately, they got some facts wrong, not the least of which was the date of the disaster.  I expect more from an organization with the resources of the CBC.  Kind of hard to do a show revolving around historical facts when you  can't report recent events accurately.  Makes me wonder what else they got wrong or perhaps, just made up.

I simply couldn't listen to the show after that episode.
 

 

Tue May 24 9:48 am  #7


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

Getting back to the original post from Radioactive about Ted Woloshyn's Saturday interview with John Brower, First of all, I have the utmost respect for John Brower.  He and Ken Walker created an amazing historical event in September of 1969 with the "Rock and Roll Revival" concert at Varsity Stadium.

However, John is mistaken by stating that: "as Brower notes, Duff Roman and others kept throwing his team out of 1331 Yonge Street".  I don't know who the CHUM people were who threw his team out of the building in 1969, but it certainly WASN'T Duff.  He'd left CHUM by then and was at CFRW in Winnipeg.  I WAS at CHUM at the time and vividly remember CHUM FM counting down John Lennon's plane arrival time to Toronto airport and the subsequent Satan's Choice motorcycle escort to Varsity Stadium.

I was Production Manager for 1050 CHUM and CHUM FM at the time and was at the station for that CHUM FM countdown.  I headed down to Varsity Stadium not long after the Lennons' arrived in TO and was standing only 3 feet from John and Yoko backstage just before they went on.


   

Last edited by Doug Thompson (Tue May 24 11:08 am)

 

Tue May 24 10:09 am  #8


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

Fitz wrote:

I do listen to CBC now and then including some of the triple A of CBC radio two ( tho much less now as I find their selections have gotten narrower). I have to agree that Under The Influence is one of the best shows period but I find NPR more interesting than CBC for news and information. 

John Donabie's Mixed Bag is must Saturday listening for me but I can't always listen on Saturdays.

Luckily, John's most recent show is archived online (I wish they'd archive more of his shows):

http://www.ciut.fm/shows-2/music-shows/mixed-bag/


"The radio craze ... will soon fade." - Thomas Edison, 1922
 

Wed May 25 7:06 am  #9


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

George Harrison was the most talented Beatle.

 

Wed May 25 7:06 am  #10


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/files/2012/10/harrison.jpg

 

Wed May 25 4:09 pm  #11


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

grilled.cheese wrote:

George Harrison was the most talented Beatle.

 

He did have the BEST solo lp...hands down. 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

My buddy Jeff went to that show.  He actually wanted to catch the Doors.  Then... ... ...On Live Peace in Toronto...you can clearly hear him yell out "Heh ERIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiC!!!"

Yoko was simply, sickly, horribly terrible.  No wonder the rest of the Beatles complained!!!

"You want to leave us to do WHAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaT?   With HERrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr???"

Good gawd!!!  But at least she was the marginally more pleasing of the two (naked) virgins to look at.  [til you were stupid enough to spin that hunk of dung vinyl disc of terror.)  It instantly made Revolution Nine a friggin' masterpiece by comparison.  If I was at CHUM FM I'd have turned out the lights, pulled the curtains and locked ALL of the doors 'til John took her away and off DOWN Yonge Street  too.

2 Virgins?!?!?!?  Two Asses.


 

Last edited by Old Codger (Wed May 25 4:13 pm)

 

Tue Sep 18 10:27 pm  #12


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

at the end of their set there is some nothing going on, then someone starts to sing "all we are saying..." That was me. 
 i got on this site to talk to John Donabie . i went to offer my help on the phones for his CIUT show and found out i had just missed him and he wouldn't be back. rats! i remember him from a long ways back. i think i even used his tickets to see "HAIR" on night. 

 

Sat Sep 22 9:31 pm  #13


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

grilled.cheese wrote:

George Harrison was the most talented Beatle.

He certainly wasn't the least talented.  I recall enjoying the Toronto Pop Festival at Varsity Stadium a ton.  Brower was a part of that one too.  I knew David Clayton Thomas from days in Yorkville.  He was kind enough to introduce me to John Kay and Johnny Winter in the Village.  As for the show/festival in question?  I've got nuthin'.  ['cept for the previously mentioned Live Peace in T.O. record.]
 

 

Sat Sep 22 10:59 pm  #14


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

I was at this show after gatecrashing with a bunch of kids from "Everdale" (the free school)
We had a couple of hits of "chemical mescaline" which I wanted to try after having used peyote buds...I was 15 at the time and about to have the worst experience of psychedelics I ever had.
We settled on the grass to the east of the stage and sat back for a concert day that I'll never forget, for good or bad, because for me it was a lot of both.
"Satan's Choice" Motorcycle Club escorted Jim and the Doors to the stadium from the airport and took over a section behind us leaving us between the bikers and the stage. OK until Yoko climbed into her bag and began screaming for the next seemingly endless minutes. 
The bikers expressed their feelings by freely throwing empty beer bottles towards the stage, unfortunately landing on me and my hippie friends. Screams of racial epithets and boo's! came from the afflicted bikers!
Luckily, she ended and the Doors took the stage!
(Lots more to the story, but I'll tell it some other time)

.

 

Sun Sep 23 7:02 am  #15


Re: The Day CHUM Turned Down John Lennon

Mark Elliot wrote:

I was at this show after gatecrashing with a bunch of kids from "Everdale" (the free school)
We had a couple of hits of "chemical mescaline" which I wanted to try after having used peyote buds...I was 15 at the time and about to have the worst experience of psychedelics I ever had.
We settled on the grass to the east of the stage and sat back for a concert day that I'll never forget, for good or bad, because for me it was a lot of both.
"Satan's Choice" Motorcycle Club escorted Jim and the Doors to the stadium from the airport and took over a section behind us leaving us between the bikers and the stage. OK until Yoko climbed into her bag and began screaming for the next seemingly endless minutes. 
The bikers expressed their feelings by freely throwing empty beer bottles towards the stage, unfortunately landing on me and my hippie friends. Screams of racial epithets and boo's! came from the afflicted bikers!
Luckily, she ended and the Doors took the stage!
(Lots more to the story, but I'll tell it some other time)

.

"Everdale" ?
Do you mean Rochdale ?

Edit : found out there was indeed an Everdale. Google is our best friend.

Anyway here is a pic of John and Yoko from around the same time with a bag of laughs:
http://www.lettheuniverseanswer.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/John-and-Yoko.jpg


 

Last edited by Fitz (Sun Sep 23 7:54 am)


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