Exactly 50 years ago this Sunday night at 8 p.m. EST, The Beatles made their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show before a record black-and-white television audience of 73 million viewers.
What better reason to celebrate that frenzied, remarkable moment in pop culture history that with a special edition of KVMR’s “Beatles Supper Club” at 5 p.m. Sunday (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming)? That’s the exact hour the four mop-tops (in the vernacular of the day) took the stage.
“With their catchy tunes and gorgeous harmonies, they changed the music,” said program host Michael Young. “And along the way, they changed marketing, fashion, media, money, even stardom.”
More importantly perhaps, according to Young, “they altered the role of the rock musician in the studio and opened up new possibilities of recording techniques.”
Serious stuff, perhaps, but Young — and co-hosts John Hensley and Justin Sternberg — expect the Beatles special to be a fun paean to the golden anniversary of the television shows, full of clips from Ed Sullivan and many other early Beatles songs and experiences, with the seemingly ever present shrieking teenage girls.
It’s part of a week of special programming as the eclectic Nevada City noncommercial station celebrates its “KVMR: Your Radio Sweetheart” winter membership drive.
“Just to add to the fun, we’ll be asking listeners where they were when that famous showed aired,” Young added.
Then a special edition of former Rhino Records producer Mark Leviton does the obvious follow-up to the opening rounds of Beatlemania on a special edition of his ‘60s ode, “Pet Sounds” 7 to 9 p.m. (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).
“My plan is to play a show consisting of recordings made for the BBC like the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Kinks, Jimi Hendrix and others,” Leviton said. “It’s a way of connecting the success of these groups because of their exposure on the public radio system, just like KVMR.”
Leviton’s special will show how The Beatles started the “British Invasion” and the groups that followed in its wake.
She’s a musician’s musician, or maybe she’s just everybody’s favorite guitarist.
However you want to describe Nina Gerber, you’ll probably learn something about her musical favorites when she’s a guest disc jockey on KVMR from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming).
“She’s also an audience favorite, and everyone was just beaming when we decided to invite both her and her trusty canine companion Tootsie,” notes KVMR Program Director Steve Baker. Gerber is a longtime accompanying guitarist, starting back in 1978 with the late, legendary Kate Wolf. “I saw her perform at a pizza parlor in Sebastopol, my hometown, in 1975,” she recalled.
She made it a goal to play with Wolf. Less than three years later, she was, forging a deep musical relationship that ended with Wolf’s death in 1986.
Most recently, the acclaimed guitarist has been accompanying pop vocalist Karla Bonoff, roots artist Dave Alvin and Mumbo Gumbo singer Chris Webster.
In fact, Nina and Webster will be in concert at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City March 28 in support of their new album together, “Apple Blossom Lane.”
Some tickets will be available as thank you gifts during Gerber’s KVMR membership drive special.
Trudell and Hemp
“The Cannabis Crusades” return to KVMR this Friday at noon with special guest, native American music artist/activist John Trudell talking about legalizing industrial hemp.
Trudell and Kris Kristofferson are doing a California Grange benefit for that cause at the Crest Theater in Sacramento February 22. Some tickets for the show will be available as thank-you gifts for KVMR memberships during the program.
A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 150 volunteer “citizen-broadcasters.” You can become a new or renewing KVMR member online at kvmr.org or call 530/265-9555 during the station’s current “KVMR: Your Radio Sweetheart” membership drive.