The world opened up to me at Christmas 1969, when I received this:
It is an AM-FM radio. A Panasonic RF-930, to be precise. I still have it. It doesn’t get used much anymore — just the occasional Packers game with the TV sound off — but it still works just fine.
I took that radio home — we’d had Christmas at my grandparents’ house — and put it on top of my filing cabinet. (Why does a 12-year-old kid have a four-drawer filing cabinet? For baseball cards and sports magazines, of course.) There it stayed for the entire decade of the ’70s.
When I got that radio, I listened to WOKY, the Mighty 92. It was a Top 40 AM powerhouse out of Milwaukee.
So begins a series on songs I heard on that radio, first on AM, then on FM. during a decade that began with me in seventh grade and ended with me graduating from college. This may take a while.
“Heaven Knows,” the Grass Roots, 1969, from “Their 16 Greatest Hits,” 1971. It’s out of print. It’s one of the cuts on “The Best of the Grass Roots: The Millenium Collection,” a compilation CD.
“Heaven Knows” was on its way out of the Top 40 this week in January 1970, just as I started using that new radio. It was the last of four Grass Roots singles to chart in 1969, following “Lovin’ Things,” “The River Is Wide” and the great “I’d Wait a Million Years.”
I saw the Grass Roots at a county fair last summer. It was the best show I saw all year. They have a few gigs scheduled this year. If they’re near you, go see ’em. It’s a real blast from the past.