Don’t trust anyone under forty?

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Starting in the mid-sixties,  the saying that separated the generations was “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.”

By the mid-seventies, when the earliest baby boomers reached thirty, the “don’t trust” age moved to forty.

Today, if one is to believe that Touch of Gray spot, ninety is the new forty.

In the fall of 1976, the Plain Dealer’s weekend entertainment magazine, Friday, did a cover story, titled “The over-40’s make it in rock,” written by the paper’s music editor Jane Scott, who  was also a member of that club.

The cover featured our own Murray Saul – then forty-eight years old – in a photo shot at a WMMS World Series of Rock at the Cleveland Stadium earlier that year, doing his trademarked “Get Down” to a crowd of over 88,000.  

The article featured the prominent “over 40s” in the Cleveland music business, including Leo Mintz, the owner of Record Rendezvous – the world’s most famous record store – who connected the words “rock and roll” to define the new rhythm and blues music Alan Freed was playing on WJW radio; Marge Bush, the music director of WIXY; John Cohen, who managed the Disc Records chain, Bill Glaseman of MCA Records, and Willie Smith and Blanche Young of the Warner-Elektra-Atlantic labels’ Cleveland branch.

Leo Mintz, who was 65, passed away less than a month after this article was published.

In 1976, when most of our listeners were in their teens to late twenties, we had two on-air staffers who were over forty; Murray Saul and Len “Boom” Goldberg, who was in his early forties.

Though some of the artists we played were in their early thirties – including Bob Dylan, and members of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, the majority of artists played on WMMS were still in their twenties.

Alex Harvey, the leader of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band and John Mayall of Bluesbreakers fame, were among the few current music “over forty” artists we were playing at the time.   Other “over forty” artists we played were from the occasional fifties and sixties oldies and folk singers we’d work into our musical repertoire.

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