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May 1, 2019 6:32 am  #1


BLACK DAY IN JULY

Oldies.Boardhost.com is currently discussing the subject tune that is said to have been banned in most of the USA because of its political overtones/undertones/whatever.    An Oldies contributor has posted that she listened to the Big 8, CKLW in 1967/68 and doesn't remember hearing Black Day in July.   Although it operated out of Windsor, ON, CKLW was "beamed" to Detroit.    Would CKLW have respected a "banning"?   

 

May 1, 2019 8:18 am  #2


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

It wouldn't surprise me at all if the song didn't get a lot of airplay in the Detroit area. It was a pretty sensitive subject and still raw at the time. It must have certainly created a dilemma for CKLW - a verboten tune that was 100% Can Con! 

Still, it wouldn't be the first tune that was banned for any number of reasons. Janis Ian's "Society's Child" wasn't played on a lot of stations because it dealt with  - horror of horrors! - a white girl dating a black guy. You can imagine how well that went over in the southern states. 

Napoleon XIV's classic novelty effort "They're Coming To Take Me Away Ha Ha" immediately shot into the Top 10, only to disappear a few weeks later when they realized it was making fun of the mentally ill. 

And while it's easy to criticize other markets, we've had a few non-players here in Toronto radio ourselves.

http://i64.tinypic.com/2mr6yqc.jpg


http://i63.tinypic.com/auz7ft.jpg
   

 

May 1, 2019 8:55 am  #3


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

From the CBC archives - April 13, 1968

http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1726194667/

 

May 1, 2019 9:07 am  #4


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

I don't think you can even say that Black Day in July really has much in the way of political undertones or overtones, at least not the majority of the lyric which really just tells the story pretty straight up without taking sides really.

In the final verse he makes a case/plea sort of like a why can't we all just get along à la Rodney King, and a mild stab at hanging the blame on wealth inequality, neither of which he ties to the 12th Street riot really and neither of which come anywhere close to the many, far more overtly political songs floating across the airwaves in the late sixties.

I suppose it is hard to compare how it reads now to how it was viewed then however. Although that contemporary CBC radio interview posted above helps.

Last edited by milton (May 1, 2019 9:08 am)

 

May 1, 2019 9:38 am  #5


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

I did a little chart research on Black Day In July. It roamed the CHUM CHART for 10 weeks from mid March to late May 1968 peaking at #17. On Billboard, it didn't even hit the "Bubbling Under" chart. In the Motor City, it never charted on CKLW and didn't even make it to "Hitbound" status. Odds are pretty good it got zero airplay on the BIG 8.

 

May 1, 2019 11:57 am  #6


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

Gordon Lightfoot is a humble man and after a 90 minute concert when I had the chance to speak with him for a minute I said, I was hoping to hear Black Day in July. His response, a classic "can't do them all".  

 

May 1, 2019 1:11 pm  #7


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

geo wrote:

mace wrote:

  On Billboard, it didn't even hit the "Bubbling Under" chart. In the Motor City, it never charted on CKLW and didn't even make it to "Hitbound" status. Odds are pretty good it got zero airplay on the BIG 8.

The attachment to Dial Twister's post deals with it having been "banned in the United States".    Did J. Edgar Hoover or the up & coming Richard Milhous Nixon instruct Rosalie Trombley on what she could or couldn't play?
 

CKLW was probably just following the lead of the Detroit stations. They likely didn't the fallout they might get from playing it, so they didn't. But it would be nice to hear from someone who was there. I'll look into it.
 


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

May 1, 2019 3:24 pm  #8


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

geo wrote:

Oldies.Boardhost.com is currently discussing the subject tune that is said to have been banned in most of the USA because of its political overtones/undertones/whatever.

geo, "banned" doesn't apply to this or just about any other song. Radio stations simply decide whether they're going to play a song or not.

geo wrote:

Although it operated out of Windsor, ON, CKLW was "beamed" to Detroit.

CKLW was "beamed" to 27 states and 4 provinces. Windsor/Detroit was the local market.

 

 

May 1, 2019 4:15 pm  #9


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

Chuck99 wrote:

CKLW billed itself as a Detroit station.

CKLW billed itself as a Windsor/Detroit station.

Chuck99 wrote:

In fact one of the jingles from the Drake Format was....CKLW, The Motor City.

It's the local market thing, again. Chrysler, Ford and GM had plants in Windsor. A lot of people made big money
working for the Big 3.

Chuck99 wrote:

So it would have been a difficult decision for management to allow a song to be played that was banned on American radio stations.

Disagree.

Chuck99 wrote:

I doubt they ever played Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival, which was banned by U.S. stations due to its anti-Viet Nam War stance.

I can't remember if we played it but I do know I've played Fortunate Son many times in my life. Introduced CCR at Cobo Hall around that time. If we didn't play it, neither reason you state would have figured into it.
 

Last edited by mike marshall (May 2, 2019 12:27 am)

 

May 1, 2019 5:13 pm  #10


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

geo wrote:

Of course Rosalie had the final word, however evidence indicates moral suasion.

Rosie's gettin' a bad rap, here. It was summer of 1968 before she settled in as the music director. At that point, things worked this way:

Rosalie would spend the entire day early in the week receiving new product from all the record folks. They didn't mail it in, they all showed up and they each got 15 minutes.
The next day, late in the afternoon, Rosie would take an armful of 45s into the PD's office. Lotta listening and
talking.
Next day, usually in the afternoon (because of the time change), the PD would get on the phone with Betty Breneman (Bill Drake's music lady) for more listening and talking. The turntable could be jacked into the phone.
The two would decide on the adds and deletes for the next week. Betty had the final word.
 Rosalie's power grew over time but it quickly became apparent she had a wonderful ear and knew her market.
Shrewd is a word that comes to mind.
Down to earth.
Didn't take any crap.
Great mom.

 

May 1, 2019 9:01 pm  #11


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

Re Black Day In July:

mace wrote:

On Billboard, it didn't even hit the "Bubbling Under" chart. In the Motor City, it never charted on CKLW and didn't even make it to "Hitbound" status. Odds are pretty good it got zero airplay on the BIG 8.

geo wrote:

The attachment to Dial Twister's post deals with it having been "banned in the United States".    Did J. Edgar Hoover or the up & coming Richard Milhous Nixon instruct Rosalie Trombley on what she could or couldn't play?

Dale Patterson wrote:

CKLW was probably just following the lead of the Detroit stations. They likely didn't the fallout they might get from playing it, so they didn't. But it would be nice to hear from someone who was there. I'll look into it.

I'd like to suggest, because I was there at the time, that the Big 8 wasn't following the lead of any of the Detroit stations. In fact, CKLW was *driving* the market and very quickly, confidently, blowing people *out* of the market.

 

 

May 1, 2019 9:51 pm  #12


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

CKLW was my daytime music station of choice in 1967-68-69 and I never heard them play "Black Day In July." In fact, I never heard the song until I found it on an album in the 80s. WTAC in Flint played "Fortunate Son." I heard it often when it was new (B side of "Down On The Corner"), meaning at least one other station, probably CKLW, played it. One that the Big 8 did play that I don't remember hearing anywhere else was "Society's Child." For some reason, I still associate "Je t'aime" with WCFL.

Last edited by TomSanders (May 1, 2019 9:59 pm)

 

May 1, 2019 9:52 pm  #13


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

mike marshall wrote:

Re Black Day In July:

mace wrote:

On Billboard, it didn't even hit the "Bubbling Under" chart. In the Motor City, it never charted on CKLW and didn't even make it to "Hitbound" status. Odds are pretty good it got zero airplay on the BIG 8.

geo wrote:

The attachment to Dial Twister's post deals with it having been "banned in the United States".    Did J. Edgar Hoover or the up & coming Richard Milhous Nixon instruct Rosalie Trombley on what she could or couldn't play?

Dale Patterson wrote:

CKLW was probably just following the lead of the Detroit stations. They likely didn't the fallout they might get from playing it, so they didn't. But it would be nice to hear from someone who was there. I'll look into it.

I'd like to suggest, because I was there at the time, that the Big 8 wasn't following the lead of any of the Detroit stations. In fact, CKLW was *driving* the market and very quickly, confidently, blowing people *out* of the market.

 

Sorry Mike. Shouldn't be posting without thinking. Of course CKLW was the Windsor-Detroit leader and other stations would be following them. Glad you chimed in!


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

May 1, 2019 10:48 pm  #14


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

Snip from Wikipedia re the Big 8:

CKLW was sometimes referred to as "the blackest white station in America", and many believe the integrated music mix helped bring Detroiters closer together in racial harmony, especially after the riots of July 1967.

In the time frame under discussion, early 1968, Paul Drew, who was originally from Detroit, was the PD. Keeping the above in mind, there was no way Paul was going to play Black Day In July on CKLW.

 

May 2, 2019 1:43 pm  #15


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

zed wrote:

Gordon Lightfoot is a humble man and after a 90 minute concert when I had the chance to speak with him for a minute I said, I was hoping to hear Black Day in July. His response, a classic "can't do them all".  

I seem to recall an interview some years ago where he was asked about playing the song live, and doesn't anymore  because he doesn't want to bring politics into a show where people are supposed to be enjoying music and having a good time.  Or it may have been because it was a specific song for a specific time and he doesn't want to relive that particular era anymore.  Perhaps he has changed his mind.  Anyone recall him playing it live recently?

 

May 2, 2019 7:24 pm  #16


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

barilko05 wrote:

zed wrote:

Gordon Lightfoot is a humble man and after a 90 minute concert when I had the chance to speak with him for a minute I said, I was hoping to hear Black Day in July. His response, a classic "can't do them all".  

I seem to recall an interview some years ago where he was asked about playing the song live, and doesn't anymore  because he doesn't want to bring politics into a show where people are supposed to be enjoying music and having a good time.  Or it may have been because it was a specific song for a specific time and he doesn't want to relive that particular era anymore.  Perhaps he has changed his mind.  Anyone recall him playing it live recently?

Well good for Gord, who has clearly more than earned the right to pick and choose, and I for one will always be standing at the door to any show of his "with a dollar in my hand".

But in all the years and number of times I have paid to park my bum in a seat for a few hours of his mastery and majesty, I have also never had the pleasure of hearing him bust this tune out, which nonetheless remains one of my favourites and I think one of his cleverest lyrics. And it is a shame because I actually think this song does the opposite of bringing politics into something where it does not belong, it humanises and even depoliticises the events it describes. It is an excellent example of how to to tell a story without making it about you.

 

May 2, 2019 9:40 pm  #17


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

A socially conscious 12 year old lad by the name of unclefester purchased this record in 1968...

Wonder whatever happened to him?


"I'll kick your ass down Yonge Street"... CFTR's Robert Holiday circa 1979...
 

May 3, 2019 6:58 am  #18


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

barilko05 wrote:

zed wrote:

Gordon Lightfoot is a humble man and after a 90 minute concert when I had the chance to speak with him for a minute I said, I was hoping to hear Black Day in July. His response, a classic "can't do them all".  

I seem to recall an interview some years ago where he was asked about playing the song live, and doesn't anymore  because he doesn't want to bring politics into a show where people are supposed to be enjoying music and having a good time.  Or it may have been because it was a specific song for a specific time and he doesn't want to relive that particular era anymore.  Perhaps he has changed his mind.  Anyone recall him playing it live recently?

That makes sense... good for Gord. Respect! 

 

August 30, 2019 10:52 pm  #19


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

mike marshall wrote:

Chuck99 wrote:

CKLW billed itself as a Detroit station.

CKLW billed itself as a Windsor/Detroit station.

Chuck99 wrote:

In fact one of the jingles from the Drake Format was....CKLW, The Motor City.

It's the local market thing, again. Chrysler, Ford and GM had plants in Windsor. A lot of people made big money
working for the Big 3.

Chuck99 wrote:

So it would have been a difficult decision for management to allow a song to be played that was banned on American radio stations.

Disagree.

Chuck99 wrote:

I doubt they ever played Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival, which was banned by U.S. stations due to its anti-Viet Nam War stance.

I can't remember if we played it but I do know I've played Fortunate Son many times in my life. Introduced CCR at Cobo Hall around that time. If we didn't play it, neither reason you state would have figured into it.
 

[Edit] - It just occurred to me that all of the CKLW Big 30s from that period are online. Fortunate Son was added to the Big 8 playlist October 14, 1969 as a CKLW Hitbound.

http://www.ct30.com/big30/1969/691014c.txt

It charted the following week at #24, as a double-sided entry, along with the flip, Down On The Corner.
On November 4th, Fortunate Son/Down On The Corner went Top 10, and they stayed there for a number of weeks, eventually showing as Down On The Corner/Fortunate Son. BTW, both sides of any double entry got equal play on the air.

 

September 1, 2019 4:45 pm  #20


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

unclefester wrote:

A socially conscious 12 year old lad by the name of unclefester purchased this record in 1968...

Wonder whatever happened to him?

I was 15 and living in London, ON in 1968 when I bought that single.  I still have it, I think...
I remember playing it for some Michigan friends that winter when they visited.  They had never heard it.


- Chris Mayberry
 

September 1, 2019 11:45 pm  #21


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

Tragically Hip did a great version of Black Day in July. Probably somewhere on YouTube.

Canadian Railroad Trilogy is another Lightfoot song that never received much airplay. It was/is one of his most popular songs in concert. It was released from a CBC program in 1967 for centennial year and possibly the length at 6:22 was part of the reason for lack of airplay. Also I don't believe the original was in stereo since it was for the TV special.  It is a classic tune.

He did an updated version in 1975 for Gord's Gold and has a beautiful string arrangement which wasn't part of the original recording. 1050 chum played the newer version of the song when they went with the oldies format years ago. They didn't play the original back in '67 as far as I can tell. 

 

September 2, 2019 8:08 am  #22


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

Did not know that Trilogy was first commissioned by the CBC. Just looked it up on Wiki and it also appeared in 1967 on The Way I feel Album but I am not sure if that was in stereo. My grade six teacher would sometimes play Lightfoot during art  and that's where I first heard the track although I am pretty sure that CHUM FM would have played the original version.

Veering off topic here but my favorite version of The Way I feel was by Fairport Convention off shoot Fotheringay and that definitely got air play on CHUM FM:




 

Last edited by Fitz (September 2, 2019 8:09 am)


Cool Airchecks and More:
http://www.lettheuniverseanswer.com/
 

October 19, 2019 4:57 am  #23


Re: BLACK DAY IN JULY

SONGS BANNED FROM RADIO (at one point or another) was the topic on Ben Mercer & Norm Edwards excellent "Face the Music" trivia program yesterday.   Tunes for which contestants fought for the prestigious coffee mug included:
 - Like a Virgin (Madonna)
 - Louis Louis (Kingsmen)
 - Lets spend the Night together (Stones) 
 - God Only Knows (Beach Boys)
 - Will You Love Me Tomorrow (Shirelles))  
 - My Generation (Who)
 - Lola (Kinks)
 - Imagine (J. Lennon)  
 - Wake Up Little Susie (Everly Bros)

     Thread Starter