The Loop, 1977-2018

 

The Loop FM98

 

The Loop. WLUP-FM. FM98. Later, 97.9 FM.

As of this week, The Loop is gone from our radio dials. I rarely feel sad for dead celebrities, but I am a bit heartbroken over the passing of The Loop. For those of you not in the Chicago area, it was the greatest rock station in the universe. More on that debate later.

Sure, The Loop hasn’t really been “The Loop” for a decade or two. I’ve lost track of the ownership changes and lately it’s been programmed by some automated robot, or even worse, a Millennial who wouldn’t know the difference between Bon Scott and Brian Johnson.

There’s no Steve Dahl, Johnny B, or breaking cool Tom Petty records anymore. It’s pretty much full of 30-year-old Def Leppard songs lately like every other lame classic rock station owned by a failing conglomerate in America. I haven’t bothered to tune in for many years. And you haven’t tuned in either; if we had, The Loop may have survived. It’s just another underperforming media property being sold and dismantled.

 

Influence on My Life

The Loop was the most influential radio station in the universe from ’79 until about ’84. Well, in my universe anyway! My biggest influencers from the world of radio in my childhood were:

  1. The iconic one: WLS
  2. The fictional one: WKRP
  3. The real one: The Loop

The Loop influenced me in many ways from adolescence through adulthood. It was my friend in times when I had no friends. The Loop was a factor in my wanting to work in (and my obsession with) radio. Without The Loop, I would not have wanted to be a rock jock, and therefore would never have met my wife and therefore we would not have our daughter! Wow!

Without The Loop, there would be no Steve Dahl. Without Dahl, there would be no Howard Stern. Without Stern, there would be no Social Geek Radio. Okay, that last one is a stretch, but throw me a bone.

 

The Best?

Many people in Chicago will tell you that WXRT was much more influential and far superior to The Loop. Don’t get me wrong – someday when XRT inevitably folds, I’ll be writing about that brilliantly-programmed entity too.

As far as the availability of the Loop’s or XRT’s music, a few channels on Sirius XM currently fill that void for most of us Gen Xers who are not dead or have not relocated to Texas or Florida.

The Loop hadn’t been cool for many years and wasn’t yet old enough to be retro chic. But now that it’s officially gone, perhaps it will be cool to wear The Loop t-shirt again. I just hope it still fits.

 

#TBT #Vinyl The Kings Are Here, 1980

Switchin' to Glide

The Kings
This Beat Goes On / Switchin’ To Glide
The Kings Are Here
Elektra Records
1980

 

One of my all-time favorites is the 2-in-1 song “This Beat Goes On / Switchin’ To Glide” from 1980. This was a huge regional hit in Toronto, Vancouver, and Chicago (all the rock stations here played it!) but not as well known outside of these cities. 

 

Switchin' to Glide

Switchin' to Glide

Switchin' to Glide

 

Switchin' to Glide

 

 

 

 

#TBT #Vinyl — Styx, Paradise Theatre, 1981

Styx Paradise Theatre

 

Styx
Paradise Theatre
A&M Records
1981

 

I was never the biggest Styx fan, but as a kid, I loved this album. It had some screaming guitars by James Young (“Snowblind” and “Half-Penny”), new-wave-ish pop by Tommy Shaw (“Too Much Time”) and some funky theatrical jazz by Dennis DeYoung (“Nothing Ever Goes As Planned”).

The packaging was cool. The LPs had laser etching and the cover and back paintings were fantastic – truly a lost art!

 

Styx Paradise Theatre

Styx Paradise Theatre

Styx Paradise Theatre

Styx Paradise Theatre

#TBT #Vinyl Chess Records Sampler, 1982

Chess Records

 

Chess Is Back
Various Artists
Chess Records / Sugar Hill Records
Compiled 1982

 

This promo-only LP for in-store play compiled 50’s and 60’s tracks from Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, and other Chess artists.

 

Chess Records

Chess Records

Chess Records
Looks like it I got this in the used bin at Record Rev in DeKalb, IL!

TBT Vinyl: Muddy Waters, Hard Again

Muddy 1

Muddy Waters
Hard Again
1977
Blue Sky Records

This record reintroduced Muddy to a new generation of blues fans and was produced by Johnny Winter. It features my favorite version of “Mannish Boy,” mostly because it’s the version WXRT in Chicago played throughout the 80’s and 90’s.

Muddy 2

 

Muddy 3