MY APOLOGIES for neglecting regular readers of my blogs for the past few months. Fortunately, there is a good reason for this that has nothing to do with those silly rumors circulated by the VRC that I had run off and joined a progressive commune in Vermont left over from those hippie-wannabe days of yore. Sigh, as enticing as that sounds, there’s work yet to be done. 1
In fact, I have been working night and day (and whatever is in between those times) on a top-secret project with two other writers, John Ross and Lew Shiner. So secret has been this project that even the VRC has been in a web of darkness throughout it!
And that project is Tell It Like It Was, a new online publication that launched on Medium a few seconds after midnight on January 1, 2019.
Tell It Like It Was looks at the rock & roll, soul, and related pop music of the years 1955–1975, focusing on the ’60s. That was the time when the true classics of these genres were conceived, composed, and recorded—years before the misnomer classic rock was coined to sell the music from the lachrymose ’70s and ’80s.
Tell It Like It Was is a new publication that looks at the classic rock & roll, soul, and related pop music of the ’60s.
The ’60s were a time when AM radio’s Top 40 had a fairly relaxed format and any type of music could be played: rock, soul, folk, pop, silly novelty songs, and even (shudder) country & western records!
It was the period when we youngsters who bought mono 45s for 89¢ graduated to buying stereo LPs for $3.99. And for the most part, the music and artists that sold the most singles also sold the most albums!
And that is some of the topics that will be discussed on Tell It Like It Was. John, Lew, and I share a passionate delight with and for this music and the times in which they were made. The three of us will be writing about the music, the records, the artists, and other aspects of that time.
Tell It Like It Was will include:
And more than the usual amount of exclamation marks!
A hybrid publication
Medium is an online publishing platform that Wikipedia describes as “an example of social journalism, having a hybrid collection of amateur and professional people and publications.” Medium puts it another way:
“Medium taps into the brains of the world’s most insightful writers, thinkers, and storytellers to bring you the smartest takes on topics that matter. So whatever your interest, you can always find fresh thinking and unique perspectives.”
Anyone can view most of the content on Medium regardless of whether or not they have an account with the platform. But in order to publish on Medium and to interact with other folks on Medium, you need to have an account and be logged in.
Medium is an example of social journalism that taps into the brains of the world’s most insightful writers to bring you the smartest takes on topics that matter.
You can create a FREE account in less than a minute by going to Medium and clicking the Get started button in the center of the page. Then you sign up using Facebook or Google. With this free account:
• You can read all of the stories except those behind the paywall.
• You can publish your stories but without getting paid.
You can also become a paid Medium Member for $5 per month. With this paid account:
• You can read all of the stories including those behind the paywall.
• You can publish your stories and get paid for those published behind the paywall. 2
Today and beyond
Medium claims more than 60,000,000 monthly readers, which is a wee bit more than this blog will get in a thousand years. So, of course, I am hoping that a few of these readers will find Tell It Like It Was and read the stuff that John and Lew and I laboriously if joyfully produced. Our publication was launched with five articles on one day: 3
Tell It Like It Was is launched is basically me blogging in an old-fashioned way about this that and the other thing and what we will be doing on Medium, today and beyond.
Introduction to Tell It Like It Was explains that the intent of our efforts is to share our excitations and good vibrations about the music of the ’60s. (And if you want to know why Buzz Aldrin on the Moon is all over this page, you need to read this introduction.)
Introduction to The Toppermost of the Poppermost is an in-depth (and lengthy) explanation of what readers need to know about a 10-part series of articles from the three of us titled “The Toppermost of the Poppermost.” In it, we address each of the #1 records of the ’60s with data, opinion, and anecdote. We believe that you might have as much fun reading them as we hard writing them!
The Toppermost of the Poppermost’s Greatest Hits 1960–1969 is a compilation of #1 records from the 10-part series of articles with one chart-topper from each year of the ’60s.
Save the Last Twist for Me is a lengthy look at each of the records that reached #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 charts during 1960. It is composed and laid out to read like an ongoing conversation between John, Lew, and me about the records, the artists, the times, and anything that came to our fantod-free minds.
A very interesting aspect of Medium membership is that a portion of the $5 each member pays each month is divided up among the writers whose work they read. This divvying up of monies is based on reader’s applause using the clap-button that is a part of every story—and you can clap until your fingers cramp on the keyboard to ensure that your favorite writers get your money!
Needless to say, I am encouraging each and every reader of my blogs to become a dues-paying member of Medium and religiously follow Tell It Like It Was!!
Needless to say, I am encouraging all dues-paying members of Medium to clap for our stories until the fingers on their keyboards are numb!!!
1 The VRC is the good ol’ vast rightwing conspiracy that everyone assured us didn’t exist when Mrs. Clinton dared mention it twenty-four years ago. Now we’ve got a man in the Oval Office who openly embraced white supremacists and a VP in the wings further to the right than the President! Now that I think about it, I’m not aware of anyone — journalist, talking-head, fellow politician, etc. — apologizing to Hillary for treating her like a paranoid, conspiracy-theory-mongering loon and acknowledging her instead as a bringer-of-light into the dark abyss of American politics.
2 The monthly membership fee allows Medium to function without advertisements while paying at least some of their writers something for their work.
3 Medium refers to everything published on their platform to be a story, including comments readers leave to other writers’ stories.
Mystically liberal Virgo enjoys long walks alone in the city at night in the rain with an umbrella and a flask of 10-year-old Laphroaig who strives to live by the maxim, “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that just ain’t so.
I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a college dropout (twice!). Occupationally, I have been a bartender, jewelry engraver, bouncer, landscape artist, and FEMA crew chief following the Great Flood of ’72 (and that was a job that I should never, ever have left).
I am also the final author of the original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record collectors and the original author of the Goldmine price guides for record collectors. As such, I was often referred to as the Price Guide Guru, and—as everyone should know—it behooves one to heed the words of a guru. (Unless, of course, you’re the Beatles.)