In the glory days of Top 40 Radio, New York’s WABC was the center of the universe. The ABC Owned and Operated 50,000 watt flame thrower was the dominant brand in the market. It attracted the best talent and was the top of the broadcasting ziggurat. While many famous names were heard on WABC during its prime, few were more admired than was Dan Ingram.
Wikipedia perfectly describes Dan’s vibe: “He was noted for his quick wit and ability to convey a humorous or satiric idea with fast pacing and an economy of words, a skill that rendered him uniquely suited to, and successful within, modern personality-driven music radio. He was among the most frequently emulated radio personalities, cited as an influence or inspiration by numerous broadcasters.”
Ingram made the most of the musical ramps that opened the hits of the day, injecting energy and personality into every instrumental opportunity. He could effortlessly switch from a serious sell to satire and delivered the goods for advertisers to such an extent that his voice found it’s way onto dozens of nationally broadcast commercials.
Like Gary Stevens at Detroit’s WKNR (Aircheck), Dan Ingram’s “secret sauce” was the pure joy he exuded behind the microphone. He was having the time of his life and we all wanted to come along for the ride.
By now you know that I always try to translate my radio learnings to the broader world of business and life. We are attracted to excellence, even more so when the practitioner is radiating the love he or she feels for the work. Purpose is the objective. Passion is the fuel. Clarity of vision reveals the path. And consistent practice leads to excellent execution. In any endeavor, this is the distillation of achievement.
Let’s listen to 7 minutes of early Dan Ingram on WABC in 1965. You’ll notice that the commercial stop sets were shorter and more frequent in those days. Somehow they didn’t feel quite so intrusive. I bet you’ll sing along with the Household Finance jingle, just like you did when you first heard it.
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Today In History:Walter Cronkite on the air in 1968
1960, The U.S. government announced that it would be sending 3,500 U.S. troops to Vietnam.
1962, At the Capitol Tower studios in Hollywood, Frank Sinatra recorded his final sides for Capitol Records. His last song at the session was ‘I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues.’
1964, Singer Eddie Fisher and actress Elizabeth Taylor divorced after five years of marriage.
1964, Elijah Muhammad renamed boxer Cassius Clay as Muhammad Ali.
1965, Marx Brothers foil Margaret Dumont dies after a heart attack at age 75.
1970, Actor William Hopper, famous for his role as Paul Drake on the TV series ‘Perry Mason’ dies of pneumonia at age 55.
1980, Danny Kaye, Annette Funicello, and Buddy Ebsen were among the stars who celebrated ‘Disneyland’s 25th Anniversary’ in a CBS-TV special.
1981, Walter Cronkite, the dean of American television newscasters, said ‘And that’s the way it is’ for the final time, as he ended his tenure anchoring ‘The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.’
1982, Billboard magazine revealed that Dick Clark had donated the podium he stood behind on the original ‘American Bandstand’ to the national museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Happy Birthday to:
(1923) Ed McMahon (d. 2009)
(1937) Merle Haggard (d. 2016)
(1944) Mary Wilson
(1945) Rob Reiner
(1947) Kiki Dee
(1959) Tom Arnold
Much More Music:
1959, “There Goes My Baby” – The Drifters: The newly reconstituted Drifters (the Five Crowns had replaced the original group in 1958), featuring lead singer Ben E. King, recorded ‘There Goes My Baby’ at the Atlantic studios in New York. (Video)
1966, “Paint it, Black” – The Rolling Stones: At RCA Studios in Hollywood, the Rolling Stones, with Jack Nitzsche playing piano and Brian Jones on sitar (which he taught himself to play after a visit with George Harrison), began recording ‘Paint It, Black.’ The track was finished on March 9 and it became the first #1 single in the U.S. and UK to feature a sitar. The song was originally titled ‘Paint It Black’ without a comma. Keith Richards said the comma was added by Decca, their UK record label. (Video)
1978, “Just The Way You Are” – Billy Joel: Billy Joel was awarded a rare platinum single for ‘Just The Way You Are’, a perennial request made by many a bride in the late 70s and early 80s for their first wedding dance. (Video)
Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting: “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.” ~Voltaire
One more for the road: As cover bands go, most don’t cut the mustard. But I promise you that you’ll be blown away by Leonid Vorobyev. The Moscow outfit, “Leonid & Friends”, superbly channel the mix and the vibe of the groups they celebrate, with a special affinity for Chicago. Those who follow us on Facebook got a taste of Leonid & Friends on Monday when we started off the morning with their rendition of “Beginnings”. I don’t often get chills when I listen to cover versions. But I did on this one and bet you will, too, when you hear Leonid’s dead on recreation of “Feeling Stronger Every Day”. Watch the video and you’ll see how much fun this tight outfit has in the studio, too. (Video)