One of my absolute favorites from the list is this largely forgotten Top Ten hit from 1971 by Tom Clay. And, in view of the weekend's events, it seems particularly poignant. Clay was a much traveled disc jockey back in the days when rock and roll was first reaching American radio. His career took him from Buffalo to Cincinnati to Detroit to L.A. to NYC and back round again. He worked for such great stations as CKLW and WCBS-FM. Clay was one of many caught up in the payola scandals of the late 50s, which were, in reality, anti-rock and roll campaigns; the practice was legal when they did it and the laws against it were applied retrospectively to any popular disc jockey who aired rock music.
Clay always wanted to make a difference, somehow--to contribute more than "patter" between the platters. It was while Clay was working at Ontario's CKLW that President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. A few months after the tragedy, Clay found a poem that had been written about the events of that weekend by Candy Greer, a girl from a Detroit suburb. Clay read "Six White Horses" (not the Johnny Cash song) on the air one day and, by the following day, the station had been deluged with phone calls requesting a record of the reading. The station issued the single and proceeds were donated to charity.
Clay released an entire album on MoWest, which sold respectably enough. But the follow-up single failed to sell. In the 80s, Clay was mostly doing voice-over work and, once again moved by an assassination (John Lennon), decided to put his free time to good use. Clay put together a montage reflecting the headlines of the day, entitled "Time For A Change" (after a clip from Lennon in the mix). Clay shopped his new montage for years--constantly updating it--but found no takers from the record labels who all said it wouldn't sell. In 1991, Clay released "Time For A Change" directly to radio stations in the US and Canada, but it remains unissued on CD. Tom Clay died of cancer on November 22, 1995--32 years to the day after the death of President Kennedy.