Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Herman's Hermits – "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" (1965)

She's made it clear enough
It ain't no good to pine

I was a serial hobbyist when I was a kid.

Name a nerdy hobby and it's a good bet I gave it a try.  I collected baseball cards, I collected coins, I collected stamps, I collected rocks and minerals, and I collected vintage nudist photos.  (Just kidding!)

One of my more long-lived hobbies was DX'ing, which is the hobby of listening to and identifying distant radio broadcasts.  ("DX" is telegraphic shorthand for "distant.")

Vintage tube AM radio
I spent many an evening slowly going up and down the dial on a vacuum-tube radio, searching for new AM stations.  (I never owned a shortwave radio, so I was limited to AM DX'ing.)  

When I picked up a new station, I would note identifying details of its programming (for example, that the station had aired a commercial for a local business at a certain time) and then write the station, asking it to verify that I had, in fact, received its signal and not that of some other station.  

Many stations printed up colorful QSL cards for just this purpose.  Here's a QSL card from Denver KOA, a clear-channel 50,000-watt AM station that I could pick up pretty regularly from my childhood home in Joplin, Missouri:

I was a member of an AM DX'ing club that published a mimeographed newsletter.  Some of the club members also collected and swapped the top-records-of-the-week lists published weekly by many pop, soul, and country-western radio stations and distributed at local records stores, drive-in restaurants, and other teenage hangouts.

These weekly lists were called "SCs" for some reason.  I ended up with SCs from over a hundred American and Canadian radio stations, all from the mid- to late sixties – which was the heyday of top-forty radio programming.

Based on my collection it appears that an inordinate number of local radio stations promoted their DJs as "The Good Guys."

For example, here the WKDA "Official Good Guys Survey" for the week of October 14, 1967, which pegged "Let It All Hang Out" by the Hombres as the current number one song.  (WKDA was the first rock-and-roll station in Nashville.)

DJs in the sixties almost never used their real names.  The WKDA "Good Guys" depicted on that survey included Doc Holiday, Sonny Light, and Johnny Wailin.

According to the WJET "Good Guys," the Royal Guardsmen's "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" was the number one record in Erie, Pennsylvania, the week of December 27, 1966.

The oldest SC I own is this November 19, 1964, "Fabulous 57" from New York City's WMCA:

(The WMCA "Good Guys" included Dan Daniel and Harry Harrison – probably not their real names.)

Omaha's KOIL – "The Mighty 1290" – had some "Good Guys" as well:

WHOT (Youngstown, Ohio) was another "Good Guys" station:

WHOT's DJs included Smoochie Causey and Boots Bell, who had a fabulous beard and mustache:

WHOT DJ Boots Bell
The "Good Guys" in Des Moines could be found on KIOA:

Houston's KNUZ called its top-singles ranking the "Good Guy 50":

"Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" was the number-one song on the Billboard "Hot 100" fifty years ago today.  It was Herman's Hermits' first number-one hit in the U.S., and the third of nine straight top-ten singles the group released between January 1965 and April 1966.

Here's "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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