October 3, 2022

The Frankie Crocker National Anthem Rap "Peace, Love, Truth, Soul" and Discovering Rare Airchecks from WMCA and WBLS

One of Frankie Crocker's signature raps was his "Peace, Love, Truth, Soul" mantra laid over through and through on Sly and Family Stone's "Sex Machine." For whatever reason this aircheck has gone missing on sites specializing on airchecks. We found it archived on the WFMU site and bring it to you from Frankie's show on 57 WMCA, a top 40 mainstream AM radio station in New York City. (Check it out below.) The year was 1969. Crocker has referred to it as his national anthem.

At the top of this page is an aircheck from 1972 at WBLS. This is an incredible aircheck we recently discovered. The clarity, production value, and digital enhancements are simply amazing. It sounds as if it was recorded yesterday. Shout out to MaJeSTiK MaGiC! Go to his YouTube page and you can check out airchecks from not only WBLS, but 'KTU, 98.7 Kiss FM, Z100, Hot 103.3 in New York; WBMX Chicago; KIIS, Power 106, 94.7 The Wave (when it was smooth jazz) in Los Angeles, and many others. (There are none however from 92.3 The Beat or KDAY yet.) 

Before Crocker's arrival on WMCA, he rose to be one of the Big Apple's top on-air personalities on the "Black Soul and Rhythm & Blues" station Super 1600 AM WWRL. His proving ground and for many others was at the legendary 1080 WUFO in Buffalo, New York. So we present this for educational and entertainment purposes.

Crocker gained famed throughout the country as many dee-jays, as they were called back then, from around the country copied his style and his rap. As Frankie said, "Often imitated, but never quite duplicated." His popularity gave him to the opportunity to launched the station known as WLIB-FM around 1972. That station became Black-owned and changed its call letters to WBLS. 

The Jazz roots of WLIB-FM are apparent in this aircheck from 1972. Here's a great slice of radio history as Frankie Crocker interspersed the Miles Davis' recording of "Milestones" at the top of his show with his "Tall, Tan, Young, and Fly" rap (More dip in your hips, more cut in your strut, more glide in your stride) featuring "Soulful Drums" by Brother Jack McDuff in the background, followed by a Black Psychedelic-era Rock song from Buddy Miles. 

We're pretty sure by the mid 70's, most Jazz music left the playlist of WBLS, but we're sure it still popped up here and there with Frankie Crocker as the Program Director. It's amazing to think how much Black/Urban radio and music programming changed it such a short period of time. Can you go a day now without hearing a Michael Jackson, Prince, Bell, Biv, DeVoe, Anita Baker, or Keith Sweat song on Urban AC radio? (Those songs are 30-40 years old.)  About ten years after the launch of WBLS, Mr. Magic's Rap Attack became a staple on WBLS as 98.7 Kiss FM added DJ Red Alert along with stiff competition from the dance/rap format at 92 WKTU for radio supremacy in New York City. 

Crocker, never a fan of rap music, was a fantastic programmer who coined the phrase Urban Contemporary, but knew as a programmer, he needed to add rap to WBLS's playlist. His influence still carries on to this day not only in the music and programming you hear on Urban AC/Adult R&B stations, but with radio personalities such as Funk Flex on Hot 97, the recently retired from 94.7 The Wave Pat PrescottFred "Bugsy" Buggs on WBLS, and a hosts of personalities on Sirius XM channels including Ken "Spider" Webb.

Frankie Crocker WMCA -1969


Frankie Crocker WBLS - 1972

Mr. Magic Rap Attack - 1983

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