In the 1960s, Top 40 radio stations were entering their golden age. In Dallas/Fort Worth, the undisputed leader was Gordon McLendon’s KLIF, otherwise known as “The Mighty 1190.” KLIF’s daytime signal covered more area than the other Top 40 stations: KBOX 1480, KFJZ 1270, and KXOL 1360.
At the same time, rock n’ roll music was changing rapidly. The 1950s were characterized with a lot of groups who sung what we call “doo-wop,” like The Penguins, The Platters and The Drifters. And then there was The King himself: Elvis Presley. Many of these groups had their foundation in gospel music, which was a major influence on rock n’ roll. One of the earliest groups was The Dominoes, who charted a hit in 1951 for a song called “Sixty Minute Man,” recorded on the Federal label and had the late Clyde McPhatter singing tenor. Needless to the say, the name of the song itself drew attention!
The early ’60s saw the beginning of songs about “dances” and songs you dance to, which incidentally coincided with the local and network dance shows. We had the Stroll in the ’50s, but as we moved to the ’60s there was the Twist (Chubby Checker), the Hully Gully (The Dovells), the Mash Potato (Dee Dee Sharp), the Jerk (The Larks), the Watusi (The Orlons), the Swim (Bobby Freeman), the Fly (Chubby Checker), the Monkey (Major Lance), the Shake (Sam Cooke) and so many more!
Locally, there were “sock hop” dances all over the DFW area on Friday and Saturday nights. And if you were lucky to get the KLIF jocks there — Charlie and Harrigan (Jack Woods and Ron Chapman), Jimmy Rabbit, Russ Knight the Weird Beard and many others — you were doing good! And if there was a cover charge, it was no more than 50 cents!
See you next time!
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