The airwaves were where Spector’s Wall of Sound blossomed into its full impact, mesmerizing listeners with otherworldly sounds unlike most other hits of the day.
In time, of course, many other producers would succesfully copy the Wall of Sound making sure that car stereos in Los Angeles and beyond blasted out galloping castanets and thunderous drums.
If you were cruising around LA in Phil Spector’s 60s hey day, you’d probably be tuned into one of the city’s hippest radio stations, legendary KRLA. And if that was the case, you would undoubtedly hear a lot of Philles hits.
Imagine – if you will – driving around, top down, cruising these streets…
KRLA had originally started as KPAS in 1942 based in Pasadena, but come 1959 the KRLA station name was in place and ready to battle KFWB as the second AM-top 40 station in LA.
In a time with watered-down, playlist-dictated corporate radio we can only long for that era’s jive-talking, hyperactive deejays presenting the latest hip recordings to teenagers.
Here’s an aural chronology made up of old clips from the station that should give you an impression of the atmosphere on air.
What was interesting about KRLA is the fact that the station put out it’s own newsletter & ‘teen newspaper’, KRLA Beat.
Although a bit uneven and haphazardly put together, the issues make for fine reading for anyone who wish to get a sense of the enthusiasm of the 60s pop scene.
Luckily for us, some helpful collectors have worked up a website where each and every issue of KRLA Beat is readable as scans. It’s very cool and I’ll bet that scattered throughout the various issues are all sorts of mentionings of Spector and the Philles acts as well as other local acts of interest to Cue Castanets readers.
I’ve only had time to read a scant few issues myself but if you come across any interesting stories in some of these newspapers, please let me and Cue Castanets readers know in which issues to look for them by leaving a comment here.
Allow me to get the ball rolling with issue 10 out of volume 2, May 21st 1966 – the one with the Young Rascals on the cover.
Here you’ll find a profile article on the Righteous Brothers which must undoubtedly have infuriated Phil Spector as he isn’t mentioned anywhere(!!!), as well as a similar article on Ike & Tina Turner – though this time with the mention of their involvement with Spector and ‘River Deep Mountain High.’
For Beach Boys fans there’s also an interesting article about Beach Boys copycats the Sunrays, masterminded by Brian Wilson’s dad Murry. I should add though, that the Sunrays recorded some really cool sides! Very good and underrated group!
Find it all – and more – here in the ‘Rascals’ issue: