Friday, October 15, 2010

40+ Years of Rock

For my 9/28/10 post, I wrote about some favorite psychedelic and prog-rock music. My parents were generous in encouraging my interests, and in 1972, when I was 15, they bought me a wonderful stereo receiver and reel-to-reel tape deck. I used those and my record player constantly. The St. Louis station KSHE-FM played rock music that I liked and recorded. The station played entire albums, even encouraging listeners to record off the air, so I never had to purchase favorites like ELP's “Brain Salad Surgery” and Led Zeppelin's “Houses of the Holy.” KSHE was the way I discovered less famous groups like Dust and Aphrodite’s Child.

Recently I found a book, In Concert: KSHE and 40+ Years of Rock in St. Louis by John Neiman and edited by Toby Weiss (Big Jack Publishing, 2009). What a perfect book for anyone who enjoyed KSHE and/or attended St. Louis-area rock concerts. KSHE began in 1964 as a station that catered to women (hence the call letters), but in 1967 it became one of the few FM stations with a rock format. Apparently it is the only U.S. station remaining from the era with that format. Now that we've moved back to the St. Louis area, I enjoy tuning in while driving.

I quickly found references in the book to the only St. Louis concert I attended back then, Jethro Tull’s 1973 “Passion Play” tour. I'd forgotten the concert’s date--May 24--but I do remember waiting all summer for the album to be released. I’ve always wondered what happened to the girl I took to that concert. She had accidentally put her hand through a grocery’s glass door and so, for the concert, she was bandaged and on pain killers.

On the KSHE book’s preceding pages, the author describes the Rolling Stone’s 1972 tour, which I remember not because I attended, but because an elderly church friend joked that he would’ve gone to the concert with me, but neither of us (an infirm 82 and an inexperienced 15, respectively) could drive!

I’m chagrined to read about other concerts in St. Louis of the era. For instance, Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” tour happened about the same time as Jethro Tull’s. How wonderful it would’ve been to see “the Floyd,” especially at that stage of their career.

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