Why This Song Is Special To Me — “Down On The Beach”

Why This Song Is Special To Me — “Down On The Beach”

It was mid-January, 1991.   The winds of war were blowing in the Middle East.  Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait and a U.S. led coalition was prepared to forcibly remove him.  The showdown between the coalition and Saddam Hussein had been built up in the media big time. There was all this talk about Saddam Hussein’s formidable army.  The media frequently referred to Iraq’s infamous Scud missiles.

That was the scene when I was called up by KFAI to substitute for the regular Blues DJ in the evening drive time.  I didn’t even consider the possibility that the war would begin while I was on the air. There I was cueing up another song on the turntable when the station’s news director blasted through the door and said, “The war started!”  

I was speechless.  I was like,”What should we do?”  

Back in those days we did what was called, “rip and read.”  Every radio station subscribed to either the United Press news feed or the Associated Press news feed.  The news director ran back to the newsroom and quickly came back with a sheet of paper. “Read this”

This was it–my big “we interrupt this programming…”  moment.

In the middle of this big list of more innocuous news events was one simple sentence.  “U.S. bombers begin attack on Iraq.”

That was it.  That was all I had.  I asked the news director if I there was anything else and he said no.  Again, I was lost on what to do. Being the cynical young man I was at the time, I made some dumb comments and then I said, I kid you not, “I guess the time has come for the new world order.”  

I don’t know if you all remember back then, but during a press conference a few days later President Bush said that we now have a “new world order.”  It became a sort of mantra that was repeated in the mass media.

I just want you to know, it was me, not Bush who started the whole “new world order” thing.

Regardless, since there was no other headlines coming across the wire and the news team was busy watching CNN, I had to do something.  So I broke from the Blues theme and put on this song by Union Carbide Productions, “Down On The Beach.”

If you like music and stories like this, look up The Fun Time Music Festival — a web exclusive radio show on KFAI.org.

 

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