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The beer stein and the coffee mug feature art by Bobby Vee and were fired by his late
wife Karen.  The plastic beer stein was popular at a radio programming forum in San
Francisco and earned me a tire gage from Lee Baby Simms.
                                                                                                                     September 21, 2015
By Claude Hall
And Rollye James
I love stories about our industries of music and radio and have been fortunate to hear quite a
few and even fortunate to have lived a few.  For example there was the time I wrote a story
about Nashville putting up a fence against younger artists and when I got to Nashville for the
annual WSM birthday party and tuxed up and went to the phenomenal BMI party everyone
was talking behind my back, but close enough so I could hear every word and none of those
words were very good, I assure you.  I got a great kick out of that.  Not long afterwards: 
Anthony Armstrong Jones.
Well, several months ago the legendary Danny Davis, one of my favorite people, forwarded
this tale, author unknown, about a song.  It was going around.  And around.  But maybe you
haven’t read it yet and, yes, you should:
Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said that when he and
a million other guys first heard her sing "God Bless America" on the radio, they all pretended
to have dust in their eyes as they wiped away a tear or two.  Here are the facts: Below, you
will see a video showing the very first public singing of "God Bless America.”  But before
you watch it, you should also know the story behind the first public showing of the song.
The time was 1940.  America was still in a terrible economic depression.  Hitler was taking
over Europe and Americans were afraid we'd have to go to war.  It was a time of hardship and
worry for most Americans.  This was the era just before TV, when radio shows were HUGE,
and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite
entertainers, and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith.
Kate was also large; plus size, as we now say, and the popular phrase still used today is in
deference to her, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings.”  Kate Smith might not have made it big
in the age of TV, but with her voice coming over the radio, she was the biggest star of her
time.  Kate was also patriotic.  It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what
the next day would bring.  She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans.  She
wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American songwriter,
Irving Berlin (who also wrote "White Christmas") and asked him to write a song that would
make Americans feel good again about their country.  When she described what she was
looking for, he said he had just the song for her.
He went to his files and found a song that he had written, but never published, 22 years before
-- way back in 1917.  He gave it to her and she worked on it with her studio orchestra.  She
and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both
agreed they would not take any profits from “God Bless America.”  Any profits would go to
the Boy Scouts of America.  Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received millions of dollars
in royalties from this song.
This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an
audience.  She introduces the new song for the very first time, and starts singing.  After the
first couple verses, with her voice in the background still singing, scenes are shown from the
1940 movie, "You're in the Army Now."  At the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor
in the movie, sitting in an office, reading a paper; it's Ronald Reagan.

To this day, “God Bless America” stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country.  Back in
1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I
doubt whether she realized just how successful the results would be for her fellow Americans
during those years of hardship and worry.
And for many generations of Americans to follow.
Many people don't know there's a lead in to the song since it usually starts with "God Bless
America...."  So here’s the entire song as originally sung:

This is a bit from my current project, a novel called “George and Me.”  I’ve a dab more than
17,000 words on it … have shown the first 10,000 to a few friends in radio and music to some
enthusiasm … thought you might like to see this part.

Copout:  Jeffrey Velline wrote asking about Snuff Garrett’s email and I confirmed that his
address was the one I have.  Here’s his news about his father, performer Bobby Vee:  “Hope
all is well with you guys, things have been nuts here but we are managing.  Hard to loose
mom … and we had to move dad into an assisted living place.  This has been extremely hard
and heartbreaking for all. Especially on the heels of losing mom -- hard days all the way
around.  He is adjusting better than we would have imagined and continues to roll with the
same sweet grace he always had -- working with what he has, and calming our collective
souls in ways he cannot even know.  Life sure can be tricky.  Pass our love on to all in the
Hall family… thanks!”
Jeff is a drummer and he and his brother Tommy, bass player, operate Rockhouse Productions,
a recording studio located in a historic former bank building in St. Cloud, MN.  Their brother
Robby Vee performs with his own rockabilly band throughout the area.  And here’s a note
from Robby: “Blue Moon Blue, released in July, is an EP collection of five songs penned as
the Blue Moon Blue Project to help bring awareness and inspire action to end Alzheimer's.  In
2015, Vee joined the Alzheimer's of America Music Community Artist Raising Their Voices
for Care to honor his father Bobby Vee who was diagnosed with the disease resulting in his
2011 retirement from the music industry.

“Robby is donating the proceeds from the single ‘Blue Moon Blues’ to the Alzheimer's of
America Foundation in this effort.  Blue Moon Blues was co-written with the late legendary
songwriter Wayne Carson (‘You Were Always on My Mind’, ‘The Letter’) who passed away
in 2015.  Wayne also co-wrote songs from Vee's past studio records including the songs 
Whole Worlds Rocking’, ‘Limousine Ride’, ‘Since You've Been Gone’, ‘Swing-aling’ & ‘Old
Love Letters’ from the BOP record.  Track 3, Tucson Girl is co-written with Robby's father
Bobby Vee.  It is the last song Vee wrote while still in the early stages of his disease.
“For more info about Robby Vee visit www.robbyvee.com and the Alzeimers of America
Music Community at www.alzfdn.org  New music from Robby Vee & his rock-n-roll
caravan! The 2015 release ‘Blue Moon Blue’ is now available on iTunes, Amazon &
Doc Wendell:  “No worries at all. I'm always very appreciative of your constant support. 
Here's a review of a book on Hugh Hefner, Playboy and how it effected the music world.”

Rollye: And here's Doc's piece on Chicago-style jazz.

Claude Hall:  “Ah, that Joey Reynolds!  I hangout with my wife’s little Chihuahua named
Lady and Joey, here, hangs out with a lady named Carly Fiorina, currently a candidate for
president of the United States.”


Claude Hall:  And Tom Russell sent in this link.

Johnny Holliday:  “Hope all is well at your end … I will have something coming your way
shortly …  guess I am one of the lucky ones to have made the move from music to sports, but
oh do I miss those days at WHK, WINS, KYA, and then here in DC at WWDC and WMAL.”

Rollye: And I'm holding you to that Johnny.  You've also got wonderful first hand memories
of Miami going back to when 1490 was WAHR and 1220 was WFEC.  Tell all!
Roger Carroll:  “Claude, I did not get your post this past Monday.  I PANICKED … I enjoy
reading every Monday morning.”
Claude Hall:  “All you have to do is tap into voxjox.org each Monday.  That’s not a lot of
work.  First, you turn your iPad or laptop on.  Get real close to the Internet.  We have Wi-Fi in
the Hall abode because I’m on the Internet a bit and Barbara and Andy are always on their
iPads.  Type in voxjox.org and go click.  Good news!  The quite gracious and very sensational
Rollye James has an archive section.  You can read last week’s column and all the columns
before that.”
Jerry Green to Red Jones:  “My brother Dell, who bought me my first guitar in 1944 when
home on leave while his battle ship was being repaired, married Virginia when WWII ended
in 1945.  He died in 2004.  Virginia, died recently.  Their kids are going through Dell &
Virginia's house, examining every single thing, for disposition.  The attached photo of an item
was sent to me, to inquire if I wanted the item.  I replied, ‘Yes, I don't have one’. I'm guessing
it is the only one known to exist, huh Red?”
Claude Hall:  “What Jerry sent Red was a picture of his business card from the fifties, except
that in my memory the show on KVET in Austin, TX, was the ‘KVET Country Cavalcade’. 
I’d sent Red a penny postcard asking him to play ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ by Elvis Presley
on the Sun label.  He did.  Thus, he was more than likely the second radio personality outside
of Dewey Phillips in Memphis to play the record.  Just FYI, Sam Phillips told me he paid
Dewey, no relation, $5 to play the record.  I think Red had to even buy his copy at a local
Josh Holstead, Texas Radio Hall of Fame, reports there are less than 60 tickets left for the
annual dinner at 11 a.m. Nov. 14 at the Marriott Austin North in Round Rock:  “In addition to
the 15 annual inductees, we will salute trailblazers in broadcasting such as Parry Lee
O’Daniel and Snuff Garrett, Charles Henry ‘Dad' Garrett and Harold Hough.  We will
honor newsmakers and risk takers like Ted Norman, Ed Shane, Dick Siegel and Sam Pate
The program this year will be dedicated to the life and career of Dallas/Ft. Worth radio giant
Terry Dorsey.  Admission is $50 per person (tables of ten are still available) and include a
delicious lunch, our multimedia program, and an invitation to our special Friday night
‘no-host’ happy hour.  Visit our website at www.trhof.net.  There, you will be ale to purchase
tickets via PayPal and take advantage of discount hotel reservations.”
Claude Hall:  “Be nice if someone would send me a couple of pictures with ID and a brief
description of events.”
Rollye:  And it would be nicer if I remembered to post what Claude has forwarded.  Here are
two gems that I missed a couple weeks back.

Above, Chuck Dunaway presents a plaque to Joan Baez on WIXY Cleveland's
"Appreciation Day".  Chuck is at the right of Joan.

Below, Woody Roberts came up with this memento of his days at KCBQ, San Diego. It was
a memo from new program director, Buz Bennett:

Peter McClane ex KIOA ex Stoner Broadcasting, ex American Radio  etc. etc.:  Enjoying
return of Vox Jox.   I hope you will mention or take note of the following...A new book to
answer many questions about Todd Storz and the format we all loved and worked in. It's all
in the title......  "The Birth of Top 40 Radio"  by Professor David T MacFarland  with help
from former Storz personnel. It's published by Mc Farland Press .  Dr. MacFarland has been a
friend for years.  He wrote his doctorial thesis on the format back in 1977 when details were
more fresh.  It was published from the typewritten pages by Arno Press.  Very difficult to
obtain today. Its title was  "The Development of the Top 40 Format".  It traces radio from
networks to independents with complete detail.   I hope you will mention the book.  They did
it as a tribute to Mr. Storz, not for any profit. Its well worth the read.......By the way old Vox
Jox columns in Billboard are sometimes the only way to spot movement and management
changes in the Radio biz.

Rollye:  McFarland’s dissertation has been on my desk since 1979 when the bound volume
was first made available.  It’s a treasure!   I believe this new work is based in part on an oral
project started by the late Dick Fatherly.  Dare I say that Claude Hall, who had a close
relationship with Bill Stewart, has strongly taken issue with some of Fatherly’s facts. And I
understand why.  But my take is that everyone was right.  The development of what is nothing
short of a sociological phenomenon does not trace it’s roots back to any one instance.  Those
of us who came later than 1954 to the Storz family, and radio itself, only heard about it.  And
the stories were plentiful.  One that I recall was about the big repetition lesson that predated
the well-known barroom waitress revelation by a few years.  I write about that in “What Am I
Doing Here? (when everything I want is somewhere else)”  [Link to your right— its the
world’s first motivational book punctuated by radio stories—  you can easily skip the
self-help part and get to the stuff that interests us.]

Also…  for radio history fans, there’s a great repository online.  If you’re not familiar with
David Gleason’s monumental site, make some time (or more aptly, a lot of time) to peruse
AmericanRadioHistory.com.  You’ll be amazed at what’s there.  I never thought I’d part with
any of my archives, but it was a pleasure to donate to David’s work.  I hope it will be around
longer than all of us will.   And speaking of radio history,  Uncle Ricky from ReelRadio.com
shares the good news that our mention generated new subscribers.  It’s an archive none of us
would want to lose.  So for $10 for access through February 2016 to over 3300 real time
airchecks from back in the day, it’s beyond a bargain.  (And it’s tax deductible.)   Thanks also
to David Martin for the VoxJox link on his great N=1 blog. N=1 gets a permanent place in
our hearts (link to your left), too.

Type to you next week, same time, same place.  VoxJox.org  New column every Monday
morning.  Have links?  Send ‘em, send pictures, graphics, or just your fondest memories to

picture of mugs
picture of Joey & Carly
picture of Chuck Duanaway & Joan Baez
picture of memo