Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

Flashback! Explore the Legendary Cruisin’ Record Series

Written by Guest Writer • May 28th, 2024
Flashback! Explore the Legendary Cruisin’ Record Series

Flashback! Explore the Legendary Cruisin’ Record Series

Step back in time with the meticulously curated compilation series capturing the essence of the history of Rock’n’Roll Radio and Pop culture, complete with vintage ads, jingles, and authentic radio DJ experiences from 1955-1970!

If you dig through enough record bins, you will eventually come across one of the 16 different compilations of the Cruisin’: A History of Rock n’ Roll Radio record series. This is a very cool and historically significant vinyl record series first produced in 1970. The album collection is truly the quintessential American Rock’n’Roll and Pop music radio anthology compilation spanning the incredibly influential years of 1955 to 1970. The 40 minute albums were released on Increase Records (a subsidiary of K-Tel) and authentically documented the musical landscape of the mid-20th century. Each album is like tuning the radio back in time, complete with retro ads, news updates, catchy jingles, and DJs straight outta the history books who introduce tunes and dish out the local gossip.

Behind the scenes, Cruisin’ series producer Ron Jacobs embarked on an exhaustive quest, scouring through archives, traversing thousands of miles, and delving into forgotten repositories to unearth authentic commercials, station promos, and jingles. Jacobs cleared rights and meticulously curated a selection of 84 records, (42 certified million-sellers from the Top 30 of their respective years). In doing so, Jacobs ensured a historically accurate sonic journey. Meticulous research, spanning decades of Billboard archives and audience rating services, guided the selection of iconic disc jockeys, scrupulously matched to a year representative of their popularity.

The historically accurate DJ recreations, such as the Cruisin’ 1965 with Robert W. Morgan album, were mostly recorded in the production room of KGB AM/FM, San Diego according to Bill Hergonson who worked on Cruisin’ albums 1955, ’63, 64, 65, 66, & 67. Some parts, including Cruisin’ 67 featuring Dr. Don Rose, were recorded in San Francisco and Los Angeles using actual air check scripts, and numerous DJ parts were recorded in the same studio as American Top 40 during the 1970s. Albums ’56-’62 were released in 1970 with the remaining nine featured years released in 1972, ’73, ’88, ’89 and 1995.

Above: The cover art for the 1961 release

And let’s not forget the cover art – a visual trip through time over 16 album covers, following the adventures of a couple whose style evolves as fast as the culture and music they’re tuned-in to. The comic book style artwork captures the nuances of changing fashion trends, hairstyles, and societal norms, and offers visual artistry to complement the auditory odyssey presented within. A Martini mixed with any of these albums on a summer afternoon will have you waxing nostalgic.

All Cruisin’ Releases
1/72 CRUISIN’ 55 George Oxford / KSAN San Francisco
6/70 CRUISIN’ 56 Robin Seymour / WKMH Detroit
6/70 CRUISIN’ 57 Joe Niagara / WIBG Philadelphia
6/70 CRUISIN’ 58 Jack Carney / WIL St. Louis
6/70 CRUISIN’ 59 Hunter Hancock / KGFJ Los Angeles
6/70 CRUISIN’ 60 Dick Biondi / WKBW Buffalo
6/70 CRUISIN’ 61 Arnie Ginsberg / WMEX Boston
6/70 CRUISIN’ 62 Russ Knight / KLIF Dallas
1/72 CRUISIN’ 63 B. Mitchell Reed / WMCA New York
9/73 CRUISIN’ 64 Johnny Holliday / WHK Cleveland
9/73 CRUISIN’ 65 Robert W. Morgan / KHJ Los Angeles
9/73 CRUISIN’ 66 Pat O’Day / KJR Seattle
9/73 CRUISIN’ 67 Dr. Don Rose / WQXI Atlanta
6/89 CRUISIN’ 68 Johnny Dark / WCAO Baltimore
7/88 CRUISIN’ 69 Harv Moore / WPGC Washington
10/95 CRUISIN’ 70 Kris Erik Stevens / WLS Chicago

Written by: Geo Thelen

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