Tag Archives: WVON Radio

Welcome to Sounding Off: Musical Reflections and Recollections

This is the first entry of my new blog, Sounding Off: Musical Reflections and Recollections. I regularly read about music, own countless CDs, 45s and albums ( yes, albums) and watch whatever videos I can find on YouTube. I’m excited about the chance to share my passion with others. While my love  for classic R&B (aka “dusties”) is unapologetic and undeniable, I also look forward to writing about other genres –blues, gospel, jazz, pop and rock.

I grew up on Chicago’s South Side during the 1970s. The Jackson Five’s “Rockin’ Robin” was the first record I remember hearing on WVON Radio. I immediately became a devoted fan of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. On Saturdays, must-see TV meant watching the Jacksons’ morning cartoon, American Bandstand, then Soul Train in the afternoon. My mother bought a box of Alpha-Bits cereal, at my request, because it contained stickers of the handsome brothers from Gary. A subscription to Right On! magazine was inevitable, but still several years away.

In those days, my dad and I purchased 45s from Joe’s Records near 35th and Giles and Metro Music at 87th and Harper. Many of my selections were influenced by WVON’s playlist and included The Hues Corporation’s “Rock the Boat,” the Jackson Five’s “Dancing Machine,” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “If You Want Me to Stay.”  The radio station was a powerhouse in the black community, where Herb Kent, Richard Pegue, Joe Cobb, Bill “Butterball” Crane, Ed “Nassau Daddy” Cook and other on-air personalities worked their magic behind the microphone.

By the time I began high school in 1979, I was buying albums at a store on 63rd and Halsted. I don’t remember the name of the shop, but it was across the street from Delicious Donuts which was under the “L” station. I also shopped downtown at Rose Records on Adams and Wabash. For house music and 12-inch singles of club favorites, a visit to Imports Etc. on South Plymouth Court was essential. After all these years, hearing “Situation” by Yaz still makes me shake my head, pop my fingers and wiggle my hips.

Please join me in Sounding Off by sharing memories about the records you bought and where you bought them. Thanks for reading this!

Kimberly Vann

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