“Drop the coin right into the slot . . . you gotta hear somethin’ that’s really hot…” So declared Chuck Berry in 1957, and these many years later, Jim Bishop continues to plunk Buffalo nickels into that colorful Wurlitzer jukebox and conjure up memories of the artists and music that many grew up with.
Every Friday at 8 p.m., Bishop, public information officer at Eastern Mennonite University, invites persons to tune their radio dial to Virginia’s first public radio station, WEMC, 91.7 FM, and take a guided tour down those cobwebbed corridors of time, back to the decade of the 1950’s and the music of that ebullient era on the “Friday Night Jukebox.”
On Friday, Feb. 6, Bishop will mark the ninth anniversary of his weekly show that debuted the first Friday in February, 2000, and has continued non-stop every week since then.
To celebrate the occasion, the show will spotlight the biggest-selling song of each year from 1955 to 1960, according to Billboard.
In addition, Bishop will pay special tribute to three legendary ’50s artists on the 50th anniversary of their deaths – Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper, aka J.P. Richardson, who lost their lives in a plane crash in a cornfield near Clear Lake, Iowa, on Feb. 3, 1959, along with the pilot of the small aircraft, Roger Petersen.
Bishop will play hits by all three performers and conclude with “Three Stars,” a musical memorial to the artists recorded shortly after “the day the music died” by Tommy Dee (“Gee, we’re gonna miss you, every body sends their love . . .”).
“This special show goes out with love to everyone who still enjoys this music and the music that should never be forgotten,” Bishop says. “Tune in, or listen on line at www.wemcradio.org.”
As the Big Bopper would say, “Oh, baby, that’s-a what I like!”
– Staff Report