There is a nice story behind these curious recordings and a good reason I am posting them to the WGBH Alumni Facebook page. In 1966, one year before I joined WGBH, I was music director and a program announcer for WBCN-FM in Boston – at that time the principal or ‘home’ station of the Concert Network – a consortium of east-coast classical music stations from New Hampshire down to Virginia. The call letters “BCN” stood for “Boston Concert Network.”
In 1966, I was still in school, studying at the Longy School and Emerson College. One of my Longy music instructors, having just returned from a concert tour of the UK and Europe, phoned me at WBCN to say he had brought home with him a comical 45 RPM recording of English ‘highway road rules,’ plus a typical UK weather forecast, the words of both having been set to Anglican Chant. The album made that same year – clever, unusual, and beautifully performed – had become a big hit in the UK and my teacher was sure it would go over well here.
He was correct. The next evening, during a program of standard symphonic music, without a word of warning and with little introduction, I played both “The Highway Code” and “Weather Forecast.” The phones rang all night long with requests from listeners asking me to play it again and again, and for information, please, where they could buy the record. I had to tell everyone that it was a 45-RPM produced in England and not available in the USA.
Later that evening, I had one final call – from a very nice man at WGBH (I knew no one there at the time) who asked if I could please make him a tape copy and that he would gladly pay any expenses. I told him I would make him a tape at no charge, not wanting to get into legal hassles. He then gave me the address to which the tape should be mailed.
His name was Connie White.
So here it is, Connie, wherever you are . . . an encore . . . 47 years later.