Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dan Ingram and the Rolling Stones

I used to listen to the Dan Ingram Show after school in 1964. He always played the latest Beatle records and I was a regular listener. The second record of the hour was always “number one” and then, more often than not, it was a Beatles single. Over time, other records became number one. Louis Armstrong even had a shot with “Hello Dolly”. “My Guy” by Mary Wells got its fifteen minutes of fame. But I loved the Beatles, the Yankees, and liked to crack my knuckles, just like everybody else in the sixth grade at Fanny Hillers School.

Then the Rolling Stones came on the scene. I had read about them in my father’s copy of the New York Herald Tribune. Them and the Pretty Things were going to be the next big thing. I’m still waiting for the Pretty Things to get big.

Dan Ingram announced on his radio show on WABC that he would give twenty dollars of his own money to the letter that expressed the best reason to like the Rolling Stones and to hate them. No corporate money was involved, only cash from Dan Ingram’s pocket. I have no idea if that was true, but it’s what he said on the air at the time. I got to see the Rolling Stones on the Hollywood Palace and hear “Tell Me” on the radio. They were completely different from anything I’d ever heard and I became an instant life long fan. I loved “I Just Want to Make Love to You”, the Muddy Waters song that they put on the flipside of of “Tell Me”.

Dan Ingram finally had his contest results. I hadn’t entered but I was curious about the results. Two kids won. He talked about the group a little and then played “It’s All Over Now”, the only time I remember WABC playing that record on the air. I liked it, though, and bought it in a record store when my family was on vacation. A teenage girl I did not know came up to me in the store and said “Oh I see you like the Stones”. Why do you like them?”

I replied, “Oh, they’re sophisticated.” An eleven year old sophisticate. Later I saw them on the Clay Cole Show. In the fall of 1964 they got a lot of airplay, especially on WMCA, the rival of WABC. Throughout my adolescence, one of my claims to fame was that I was into the Rolling Stones before anybody else.

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