The Pop Chronicles (1969 - 1976) were two syndicated radio documentary series which together "may constitute the most complete audio history of 1940s-60s popular music." Both series were produced by John Gilliland. Many famous musicians were interviewed on this program.
Pop Chronicles the 1950s and 1960s
- ... And this is the origin of pop music: it's a professional music which draws upon both folk music and fine arts music as well.
- A singer … is no more than an actor set to music.
- I learned more from Chuck Berry about America than I could have from the U.S. Information Service in London.
- Eric Burdon, Show 5 - Hail, Hail, Rock 'n' Roll: The rock revolution gets underway. Part 1, interview recorded 11.20.1967.
- I call my music the healing music… It makes the blind feel that they can see, the lame feel that they can walk, the deaf and dumb that they can hear and talk.
- It just happened. I like to sing, and well, I just started singing and folks just started listening. I can't tell folks that I worked and learned and studied, and overcame disappointments, because I didn't.
- Elvis Presley, Show 7 - The All American Boy: Enter Elvis and the rock-a-billies. Part 1; C. Robert Jennings, "Elvis Lives!", 1968-Feb-18, L.A. Times Magazine, p. M28.
- Rock and roll is a music, and why should a music contribute to … juvenile delinquency? If people are going to be juvenile delinquents, they're going to be delinquents if they hear … Mother Goose rhymes.
- American country music … was and is … the soul music of white people.
- John Gilliland, Pop Chronicles, Show 9 - Tennessee Firebird: American country music before and after Elvis: Part 1, originally aired April 6, 1969.
- Elvis changed the country music scene quite a bit; he almost put country music out of business.
- Chet Atkins, Pop Chronicles, Show 9 - Tennessee Firebird: American country music before and after Elvis: Part 1, interview recorded January 1968.
- You can't make a hit record out of nothing. … It's baseless to think you can make any recording a hit, just by playing it over and over and over again.
- Dick Clark, responding to payola charges, Pop Chronicles, Show 12 - Big Rock Candy Mountain: Rock 'n' roll in the late fifties. Part 2, interview recorded 3.11.1968.
- Now my attitude is very simple: I must do what artistically pleases me.
- Bobby Darin, Pop Chronicles, Show 13 - Big Rock Candy Mountain: Rock 'n' roll in the late fifties. Part 3, interview recorded 11.5.1967.
- The things that were happening in 1955 were cosmic … in terms of music history.
- Frank Zappa, Pop Chronicles, Show 14 - Big Rock Candy Mountain: Phil Spector & Frank Zappa review the '50s, interview recorded 3.5.1969.
- But now if I can wrap myself up in that song, and when that song gets to be a part of me, and affects me emotionally, then the emotions that I go through, chances are I’ll be able to communicate to you. Make the people out there become a part of the life of this song that you’re singing about. That’s soul when you can do that.
- God would be a very selfish god if he gave all the soul to one race. … When one sings from the heart and it reaches another heart, that's soul.
- I went to jail for 11 days for disturbing the peace; I was trying to disturb the war.
- Joan Baez, Pop Chronicles, Show 19 - Blowin' in the Wind: Pop discovers folk music, interview recorded 12.3.1967.
- I enjoyed all the records very much. I made them all from the heart. I made them all with art in mind, and all to reveal a picture of where I was when I made them.
- Phil Spector, Pop Chronicles, Show 21 - Forty Miles of Bad Road: Some of the best from rock 'n' roll's dark ages, interview recorded 8.1.1968.
- If I had as many love affairs as you've given me credit for, I would now be speaking to you from a jar at the Harvard Medical School.
- The day you open your mind to music, you're halfway to opening your mind to life.
- Pete Townshend, Pop Chronicles, Show 23 - Smack Dab in the Middle on Route 66. Part 2, interview recorded in London 2.5.1968.
- I was looking for a name like the Crickets that meant two things, and from crickets I got to beetles. And I changed [to] B E A because … B E E T L E S didn't mean two things, so I changed … the E to an A. And it meant two things then. … When you said it, people thought of crawly things; and when you read it, it was beat music.
- If you'd have asked me that question, 9 months ago, well, I would have been able to say, to come to America, to have a number one hit in America, and to play Carnegie Hall, to play the Palladium, to play in front of the Queen, and all that. ... The things we've done, they were our ambitions, say 9 months ago.
- We knew that America would make us or break us as world stars. In fact, she made us.
- I used to get mad about people recording my things; now I got a new thing going. … I don't get mad about them recording my material because they keep me alive.
- Bo Diddley, Pop Chronicles, Show 29 - The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming!: The U.S.A. is invaded by a wave of long-haired English rockers. (Part 3), interview recorded 3.17.1968.
- There's not many Americans, certainly not many of the teenagers I met when I first went to America, knew anything about [blues artists] at all. … They do now, which is very groovy.
- What I wanted to do with Bobby was just to get him to sound in the studio as natural, just as he was in person, and have that extraordinary personality come thru. … After all, he's not a great harmonica player, and he's not a great guitar player, and he's not a great singer. He just happens to be an original. And I just wanted to have that originality come thru.
- John Hammond (Bob Dylan's first producer), Show 31 - Ballad in Plain D: An introduction to the Bob Dylan era. (Part 1), interview recorded 10.4.1968.
- In the largest sense, every work of art is protest. … A lullaby is a propaganda song and any three-year-old knows it. … A hymn is a controversial song--sing one in the wrong church: you'll find out. …
- I like them all. … They're all pictures of me when I wrote them. … I have no favorite songs.
- Very rich.
- John Lennon asked how he felt about a Beatles' Shea Stadium concert not selling out; Show 38 - The Rubberization of Soul: The great pop music renaissance. (Part 4), 22 August 1966.
- Some fella said to me, "Have you had LSD, Paul?" And I said "Yes." And it was only 'cuz I was going to just be honest with him. There's no other reason. I didn't want to spread it or anything, you know. I'm not trying to do anything except answer his question. But he happened to be a reporter, and I happened to be a Beatle.
- What we call a hook hits you, ... then you're almost not writing, lyrics come to you, a sort of magic takes over, and it's not like work at all.
- Sonny Bono on songwriting, Show 44 - Revolt of the Fat Angel: Some samples of the Los Angeles sound. (Part 4), recorded 11.1.1967
- Here, I'm going to make you a big star … and you don't have to pay any dues. … For that, you're going to get no respect from your contemporaries. … To me, that was the cruelest thing.
- Phil Spector on The Monkees, Pop Chronicles, Show 44 - Revolt of the Fat Angel: Some samples of the Los Angeles sound. (Part 4), interview recorded 8.1.1968.
- Ringo [Starr] … is always underrated. … He's probably … the finest rock drummer in the world today. … Ringo is the one.
- The softer you sing, the louder you're heard.
- Respect is something Otis achieved for himself in a way few people do. Otis sang "Respect when I come home." And Otis has come home.
- Jerry Wexler from Otis Redding's eulogy; Show 51 - The Soul Reformation: Phase three, soul music at the summit. (Part 7), December 18, 1967.
- Manhood is what we profess, and what we try to get across.
- Soul is truth, … no matter where it comes from, no matter how it is presented.
- ... I just know that, right now, … the biggest record selling business there is is rock and roll.
- Rhythm and blues used to be called race music; … this music was going on for years, but nobody paid any attention to it.
- "Ray Charles, Show 55 - Crammer: A lively cram course on the history of rock and some other things, interview recorded 3.8.1968.
Pop Chronicles the 1940s
- I took song writing seriously when I discovered girls.
- Jimmy Van Heusen; Tape 1, side A.
- [My] publicity agent … went to hear Father Divine and he had a sermon and his subject was 'you got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.' And I said 'Wow, that's a colorful phrase!'
- Johnny Mercer; Tape 1, side B.
- So many proposals happened on the dance floor to the pretty music where the guy'Il say, 'Honey, I love you. Will you marry me?' I've often wondered how a young man gets through to his lady friend today when she'd be doing her own little thing 15 feet away. He tries to get her attention, waves his arms and somebody walks in between and he says, "I love you," and the little girl in the middle … a stranger . . . says "who me?"
- Tex Beneke, tape 2.
- A song would come out … a singer's song, right? Elmo [Tanner] would whistle it. Whatever he didn't want to whistle, I would sing. Now you can imagine what I used to sing. It was frightening. Elmo was the whole band, you know?"
- Perry Como, tape 3.
- I … started out to become a jazz pianist; in the meantime I started singing and I sang the way I felt and that's just the way it came out.
- Nat King Cole; Tape 3, side B.
- Spoken in VOA interview on Show 22 - Smack Dab in the Middle on Route 66: A skinny dip in the easy listening mainstream.
- Nat King Cole; Tape 3, side B.
About the Pop Chronicles
- For the serious aficionado of pop music and the casual listener alike, it's been a nearly unqualified success.
- A veritable schoolroom of the airwaves … significant records … leaving the story-telling … to the interview subjects.