WMMS_logo.svgThe soundtrack to my adolescence and young adulthood in Northeast Ohio was unusual. While my peers were listening to Depeche Mode on the radio or catching a live show at the Grog Shop, I was in the ballet studio. While my high school classmates listened to the CHS band before Friday night football, I was in the ballet studio. Dancing to Miss Jackson (nasty or not) in the Burger King parking lot? Me? Not unless that parking lot had ballet barres and wrap-around mirrors.

You get the picture. Instead of memorizing every word to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s classic, “Baby Got Back,” I was enduring mandatory games of Name that Tune in the ballet studio. As in: pianist on the baby grand in the corner plays a few bars of classical music and we bun-heads guess the composer and piece. (Tip: Tchaikovsky is always a safe bet when betting on ballet music.)

My personal soundtrack during my formative years–and by extension my entire budding identity–felt terribly inaccurate. On my pathetic playlist: a little Whitney, some Tears for Fears, my parents’ Herb Alpert and Brothers Four records, and a smattering of Russian ballet compositions I couldn’t name.

Forgivable if I lived just anywhere. But I lived outside Cleveland, Ohio, rock ‘n’ roll capital. (Just go with me on that.)

My soundtrack’s saving grace: Cleveland’s rock station, WMMS. Really, I knew I wasn’t cool enough to blare that kind of music, while driving my parent’s Chevy Cavalier through the snow to and from classes and rehearsals, pink tights on, hair in a tight bun. Never could I have sported a t-shirt with the rock station’s mascot, the Buzzard, with the necessary cool-girl aplomb. -6f153e909dd14774

But I would listen to these rockin’ sounds of my city, and that tagline that gets me jazzed even today. Please enjoy this blast from Cleveland radio past:

What is your hometown’s sound? Let’s talk!

Find Rust Belt Girl on FB, too.





6 thoughts on “That Hometown Sound

  1. I pre-date you by quite a bit but…

    The premier hoppin’ rock and roll station here in Rochester was WBBF 95AM until the late 1960s, but after that, any self-respecting teenager listened to WCMF FM, which played only serious rock and roll and zero bubble-gum pop. We’re not a huge city and the biggest band in town in the late 60s was the Rustix, a blue-eyed-soul cover band that never quite made it to the big time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anything harder than The Mamas and the Papas was “acid rock” in my folk-music-loving house as a kid. So I didn’t listen to any Frank Zappa until college, and I had a Primus moment, which I am now embarrassed about. Never got into Little Feat, but am enjoying the album so far. Was looking for something to listen to tonight. Thanks!


  3. WPGC –Southeast D.C./Prince Georges County. Pop, Soul, Rock. Here’s a Playlist from January 1965. It strikes me as a funny mix now. I haven’t listened to AM radio in 40 years.
    Song Title Artist Name

    You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
    Righteous Brothers

    Petula Clark

    Wild One
    Martha & The Vandellas

    Love Potion #9

    Give Him A Great Big Kiss

    I’ll Be There
    Gerry & The Pacemakers

    I Found You
    British Walkers

    I Feel Fine

    Name Game
    Shirley Ellis

    Look Of Love
    Lesley Gore

    I Go To Pieces
    Peter & Gordon


  4. That is so fun. Thanks! I bet D.C./P.G. County had some great music going on then. Now the big station in D.C. 101, right? I will definitely have “Downtown” in my head for the rest of the day. Love that one!


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