American Top 40 PastBlast, 2/9/85: John Fogerty, “The Old Man Down the Road”

WKQQ is the Lexington-area classic rock station. It sits at 100.1 on the dial now (part of the ubiquitous iHeart network), but back when I was in college it was located at 98.1.  I don’t listen to it anymore, but our next-door neighbors’ son would have it on a fair amount when went over for swimming and/or birthday parties a few years ago, during his teen years. I would joke that their playlist hadn’t changed much since I was his age, but honestly, it wasn’t far from the truth!

Double Q could well have been the station I tuned in most during my last two years of college. Looking at this attempt at a history of the station in its earlier years, I recognize the names of a number of the DJs, both from college days and after I returned in the early 90s: Curt Mathies, Mike Graves, Stacey Yelton, and Tony “TNT” Tilford (who’s still there, actually). I’m not the person to do it, but it’d be cool if there was a more extensive history of the station available somewhere.

WKQQ’s morning show back then was “Kruser and Company,” hosted by Dave Krusenklaus. I suppose it was pretty standard fare for a show of its type; because of or in spite of that, James and I certainly listened to Kruser plenty in the dorm room as we were getting ready for the day. Kruser was still doing his thing after I came back. Nothing lasts forever, of course, but I was surprised when Double Q canned him just a few years later in favor of the syndicated and eternally juvenile Bob and Tom. Krusenklaus has hung on in Lexington over the years, and is currently PD at an AM talk radio station.

The first months of 85 were a particularly intense time of listening to Double Q in 402 Clay Hall—my recollection is that there was some kind of limited commercial interruption promotion that stretched on for a few weeks, at least on one day of the week. For some portion of the weekends, I’d be sitting at a desk or in bed, reading something for my U.S. politics course, working on abstract algebra proofs or numerical analysis problems, letting AOR goodies wash over me (okay, I goofed off plenty, too).

This period coincided with John Fogerty’s big comeback hit, “The Old Man Down the Road,” first hitting the airwaves. It’s at #17 on this show, soon to reach #10. It’s a fine track, but the most fascinating thing about it to me is that Saul Zaentz, owner of Fantasy Records and the rights to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s catalog, unsuccessfully sued Fogerty over it, for plagiarizing himself (I’ll agree that “Old Man” bears at least a passing resemblance to “Run Through the Jungle”). The video was sort of a one-note joke, the camera tracing the path of a power cord from an amp in the swamp to Fogerty’s guitar. I have no idea why I didn’t notice back in 85 Fogerty’s three cameo, Hitchcock-like appearances throughout the clip.

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