GOLDEN GIFT Our thanks to Jon Wolfert of PAMS and JAM for this GOLDEN GIFT from his personal collection, and the informative description he included (below).
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PLAY WMAL Heller-Hamilton Music Machine Jingles Composite (06:25)

. . . Intelligent people stand out in a crowd, it's easy to spot 'em 'cause they're always so LOUD . . .

[Description by Jon Wolfert]

Remember when jingles were allowed to be entertaining and fun in their own right? Sadly, we're not allowed to do it anymore. But believe it or not, there was such a time during the 60s and 70s, and these WMAL jingles are great examples of that. Here's just a sample of the "Music Machine" package from the early 70s. It was produced by The Heller Corporation, but the genius behind them was Dick Hamilton who created the lyrics, melodies and arrangements. Equally wonderful is the all-male L.A. vocal group consisting of John Bahler (lead), Ron Hicklin and Gene Morford.

You'll notice that these are all very long jingles, and you might be wondering how a station could ever use them. Part of the brilliance of the way most Heller jingles were written is that each long jingle could be mixed into a series of shorter pieces. But the orchestration was such that the edit spots were not obvious when you listened to the long mix. It was great fun to get used to a short jingle, and then one day find out it was actually part of a longer one. But the real reason that the jingles were done this way had to do with the singer union rules which were in place at the time. They said that singers would be paid for station ID's "by the cut"... therefore, if one long "cut" could yield several shorter pieces, it allowed a client's budget to go further. Obviously, the station used primarily the short mix-outs, but would occasionally air the longer versions.

Hamilton had a brilliant way of injecting his own views, and musical sense of humor, into every jingle he wrote. A full discussion of all the "deep" things that he snuck into Heller (and other) jingles is beyond the scope of this description. But listen to these with an imaginative and playful mind, and by the time you get to the last refrain of "WMA - Yell", I think you'll get it. Enjoy.

-Jon Wolfert (JAM / PAMS) June 22, 2005
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