July 24, 2006

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today, Part XXXIV

It was Thursday, July 24, 1986.

A week or so earlier, Don had put out the call - we needed a new theme song.

He had sown the wind. He was reaping the whirlwind.

We had been deluged with tapes - or as close as any station drawing a four share ever gets to being deluged with anything.

Some of the tapes were obviously the work of very talented musicians, who did the work in actual recording studios, and put serious time into writing and arranging their efforts.

Totally wrong. Dave and I - both of us actual musicians who appreciated the effort that'd gone into the productions - shuffled uncomfortably as Don flipped past them. "It's just not right for the show."

On the other hand, some were too low-fi - a guy had written a fair long, involved, folky song which he'd recorded and sung on, apparently, a cassette tape. Hissy, with mistakes and missed notes and about two minutes too long...


And then - on the second-to-last day of the contest - we cued up a cassette. Over the home-cassette hiss, we heard a needle cueing up on a turntable - the guy was obviously sitting in front of a record player with a cassette deck...

...and the opening strains of the Bonanza theme, swelled up to the familiar tune...

...over which a schlemiely-sounding guy began singing with comic gusto

"Don da da Don da da Don da da Don Don Vogel, it's the Don da da Don da da Don da da Don da da Don Don Vogel Show!

(then up a fourth)

"Don da da Don da da Don da da Don Don Vogel, it's the Don da da Don da da Don da da Don da da Don Don Vogel Show!

(then into the bridge)

Oh ah uh, oh ah uh, the Round Mound of Sound,
Oh ah uh, oh ah uh, the Round Mound of Sound!

(then back to the tune)

"Don da da Don da da Don da da Don Don Vogel, it's the Don da da Don da da Don da da Don da da Don Don Vogel Show!

You could tell when Don liked something - he'd start laughing with this sudden, sharp cackle, and then keep guffawing uncontrollably.

"That's the one!"

There were two more days to the contest, but Bill Kramlinger of White Bear Lake had us at "Don da da Don..."

Posted by Mitch at July 24, 2006 06:43 AM | TrackBack

Hey, Angryclown just wrote a theme song for Mitch's new show:

Mitch Berg, Mitch Berg über alles,
Über alles in der Minnesota!

Posted by: angryclown at July 24, 2006 08:24 AM

Ah, the wound Clown of sound (and fury)!

Posted by: Night Writer at July 24, 2006 09:16 AM


Did you know that "Deutschland über Alles" is actually from a string quarted by Hayden? And that the modern, democratic German uses exactly the same piece of music for its current national anthem? I keep picturing a Bono-like German conducter stepping to a podium in 1948 and saying to a cheering crowd "Hitler hat dieses lied vom Haydn gestohlen. Wir stielen's zürück!", to thunderous applause. Can't you just picture it? Hee hee.

Oh, and it'd be "über alles im Minnesota". Hate to appear culturally illiterate, wouldn't we?

Posted by: mitch at July 24, 2006 09:22 AM

Mitch queried: "Hate to appear culturally illiterate, wouldn't we?"

Of course! God knows what a flop that Ich bin ein [sic] Berliner speech was.

Posted by: angryclown at July 24, 2006 09:45 AM

Hahaha! The "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" bit!

The funny part there is, that's another product of cultural ignorance. No, not on Kennedy's part - but on the part of the schlubs who think that a typical German heard that and thought "Ach ja, he said he's a donut!" Buncombe, of course - Germans heard that, noted a grammatical slip (that is by no means uncommon among non-German-speakers and even among people who speak the language but aren't extremely fluent), and moved on with their lives, knowing that Kennedy, far from being a baked good (well, drug use aside), was in fact a big Berlin supporter!


Posted by: mitch at July 24, 2006 09:58 AM

Hahaha! Stupid shlubs!

Um, nobody thinks that, by the way. And Angryclown was making the opposite point.

But good burn on those schlubs! I'll bet they're all librals!

Posted by: angryclown at July 24, 2006 10:05 AM

*back on topic*

When I think of Don Vogel, that is the theme song that always comes to mind, and the only one I remember from the days. I was dissapointed it wasn't on the Best of CD (which I still have sitting on my beer fridge Mitch. Be sure to remind me next time you stop by.)

I still miss Don, but the CD helped!


Posted by: Flash at July 24, 2006 10:19 AM

Some Vogel bits are available on the website.

Posted by: Badda-Blogger at July 24, 2006 10:25 AM

Thanks Badda

Ooohhhh Miiiitch . . . Lookey I found . . .


Posted by: Flash at July 24, 2006 11:20 AM

It's too bad it's been so long. I listened to Don almost every day from the day I discovered him in 1992 til the day he died. I've forgotten most of the funny stuff I heard him do. I do remember the Don da da Don theme song. I also remember the Swami and I remember Willie Griffin talking to Don Bobo and singing the praises of THUNDEBUHR WIIIIIIIINEEE....

I also remember that he called up a psychic hotline and had the most genius question. They asked him who he was or what his name was or something, and he immediately replied "You're a psychic hotline. You should already know." I remember the day he played the soundbite of Bono at the Grammies or something like that and Bono shouted out "And F*** THE ESTABLISHMENT!!", and being blind, Don didn't realize he had his finger on the wrong button, and it didn't get bleeped. The calls started pouring in immediately, and he almost got fired.

I remember him discussing his foot fetish, and that one day, Turi Ryder interviewed him on her program about it. He was very clinical and business like about it, keeping the jokes to a minimum.

I also remember on his Friday "Highway to Hell" as the months went on, he would get louder and more boisterous in his singing along. I was worried he would end up hurting his voice, he was getting so enthusiastic towards the end. Maybe he was making sure to enjoy the time he had left. I could tell he truly loved that shtick.

Of course, this is all after Mitch's time at KSTP. I don't remember the producer Dave's last name (it wasn't Dave Elvin, he had another one named Dave in the 90's who was a year older than me), but after Don died and Jesse had his morning show, Dave became Jesse's producer. They must have really worked out well, because when Jesse decided to run for governor, he tapped Dave to be his campaign manager or something like that.

Posted by: Bill C at July 24, 2006 11:26 AM

Die Wacht am Berg? Das Lied der Bergen? Ich denke das nicht...although they would make a good blog post taglines. Anyways, they only sing the third verse of the song AC alluded to nowadays, the one made after the war. They should have switched to the second verse, the one with wine and women :)

back on topic
Sometimes Don just flat out scared me, he certainly did go for the outlandish - but without being crude, which is a real mark of talent being able to cross the line without doing the easy sick crap ala Stern (OK, people are going to hate me, but I just can't get into the guy, I have a low yuck & gross out quotient).

Flash, thanks for reminding me they made CD's, I had forgotten that.

Posted by: Bill Haverberg at July 24, 2006 06:35 PM


! ! !

Posted by: sull0009 at July 24, 2006 08:44 PM

An article from today's LA Times on AM radio and its ability to survive.,0,1879977.story?c=

Posted by: Lori at July 25, 2006 08:30 AM

Sorry you don't dig Stern, Bill Haverberg. Not everybody does. Still, he is the only genuine genius on the radio today, with Limbaugh a distant second.

Posted by: angryclown at July 25, 2006 08:51 AM

Thinking of Vogel brings back a lot of pleasant memories. Another theme song that I always enjoyed was "It's the afternoon saloon and we're glad your" Vogel as a bartender - class act.

Since those who know me know that I do political impersonations, I called in at the start of his show one day as "George." Yep - you guessed it. I gave my George Herbert Walker Bush impersonation. All I said was, "Hello Don" in that distinctive whine and all I heard was "click" followed by a few seconds of silence.

Then I turned my radio up to listen to what Don was saying (I was in my car calling from a payphone so the radio volume button was an easy reach) and all I heard for the rest of the show was "I hung up on George Bush. I hung up on George Bush." He repeated that all during the show, and I think he made a reference or two about it the next day.

I was just happy I could make his day and provide fun fodder for the show.

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