“Stop and Pull Over” Songs – Part Deux

Old time car radio (Public Domain)

Old time car radio (Public Domain)

Our recent post on “Songs that Make You Pull Over and STOP What You’re Doing” is inspiring a lot of conversation and recollections. How wonderful! We’ve created a Spotify playlist to track the songs. Here are some of the stories you’ve shared:

  • It was 1973. I was heading back to college, driving south from Kingston, NY on 9W when Paul Butterfield’s Better Days Band kicked up my car stereo with “Highway 28.” Butterfield’s haunting harp intro led into a sweet little jam with a fine Ronnie Barron piano solo and then more of what Mr. Butterfield did best. Not only was it a song that made me want to pull over – it also made the State Trooper following me want to pull me over. Which he did. Never forgot the feeling I had from that song, nor the sight of those flashing lights in my rearview mirror.
  • My uncle owned a Tastee Freeze with a jukebox in the 60s. When he changed out the records, he would bring the old ones to me. I was introduced to some great music. If I had to pick one, it would have to be Get Off Of My Cloud by The Rolling Stones.
  • Husker Du — “Real World.” I actually remember pulling over and stopping when I first heard it on WMBR’s Late Riser’s Club.
  • When I first heard Roxanne by the Police. Never heard a sound like that before.
  • First seminal moment was in 1961. I was a 10-year old Jersey kid on the Jersey shore at a time when the only source of music at home was a single AM radio – typical of the time. I heard this cool song floating through open summer windows and from transistor radios played by teens on the beach. One night I sat at the radio and incessantly dialed it from one station to the next until I came across The Highwaymen and “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” – startlingly different from Frankie Avalon, Connie Francis and Dione. So I landed permanently on WABC, 770 on the New York radio dial. And that’s how rock and roll came into my life. I can probably still recite the daily dj lineup on “77, WABC”.

Second seminal moment wasn’t a song – it was a pair of DJs. In 1967 WNEW-FM in New York converted to what was then called ‘progressive rock” with an all-new deejay lineup. Allison Steele was “The Nightbird” and late night was Zacherley. Along with others like Rosko, Jonathan Schwartz and Vin Scelsa they pioneered free-form FM prog-rock programming. Check out an ad for the station here with the headline “Has rock music gotten too freaky for radio?” Nope. Rock music made radio freaky – at least for a while back in the late Sixties – and what a revelation that was. Every single evening was a head trip.

  • A good song doesn’t make you pull over. It makes you want to drive faster!
  • I was driving in Stoughton, MA in 1990 when World Party’s “Message in a Box” came over the radio….love at first listen and I love Karl Walling error to this day. Also, I was driving through Pawtucket, RI in 1988 (?) When “Handle with Care” by The Traveling Wilbur’s came over the radio. I loved it and then was ecstatic when the DJ gave a breakdown of this supergroup that dropped on us out of nowhere…….as a huge fan of Petty, ELO/Jeff Lynne, Dylan, and ( especially ) George Harrison I was stoked.
  • “Sound Chaser” – YES! Dad was bringing me home from teaching guitar and the local “hip” AM Radio Station was playing it. We got home, pulled into the detached garage and just listened! MAGIC!!!
  • Who’s Next. I actually could hear and FEEL the bass! I soon bought a decent stereo after realizing the possibilities at a friend’s house…..

Thanks, everyone, for the stories and tunes. Please keep ‘em coming!

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Al Cattabiani

Photo Credit: Old-fashioned radio courtesy of Pixabay.

On the topic of great songs and musicians, please check out some of our most popular posts:  “Aja” — 8 Minutes of Genius; These Guys Were REALLY Behind the Music; Bowie on Instagram; What Made “Shining Star” Burn So Bright and The Adele of the ’80s.

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