Friday, February 25, 2005

Your First Favorite Song

I was eating at a restaurant for lunch today (ed. Where else would you eat - the dry cleaners? Shaddup.) and it was golden 70's day on the radio. Not only did I hear the Theme from "Shaft!" (can you dig it?) and the Theme from "The Partridge Family" (can you dig it?), but I heard an old favorite, "Smoke from a Distant Fire" by The Sanford-Townsend Band.

Not only was it an old favorite, it was my first favorite. Way back in May, 1977 my best friend and I heard WRJZ 62 in Knoxville (then a pop station) was giving away a number of sets of two free tickets to a special sneak-preview showing of a new science fiction movie. This movie (say it with me) was Star Wars - no bloody V, VI, I, II or III, Special Edition or none, but the original.

So my friend and I spent all our free time listening to the radio station, hoping against hope and dialing against dial that one of us would make it through and win them. Lo and behold on May 24, 1977 - one day before it opened nationwide and changed the world - we were the first ones in the theatre. (For all you old Knoxvillians, it was at the old Cedar Bluff Theatre, near where McDonalds is on Cedar Bluff Rd and I believe where stands now Dale's Winning Edge golf store at the corner of Cross Park Dr and Cedar Bluff).

I digress.

Anyway, for all the time we listened to the radio that month, "Smoke from a Distant Fire" became the first "pop" song that was a favorite. As a matter of fact, when I hear it I get sense memory of Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor, rec league basketball games and all the other things I did when I was a kid.

What was your "first" favorite song?


  1. I have been searching for info on this for a LONG time, trying to find the date of that showing. I had just finished my sophomore year at West and I won tickets on WRJZ as well. We were there at the same time seeing history and had no idea what was to come. Thanks for this post. Now I know the date and that it was actually before the big release. I wish I still had the ticket stubs.

    1. This is an old article, and I've sense come to suspect that it's possible Knoxville didn't actually receive Star Wars until a week or two after it's big national May 25 opening. I don't know this for a fact, only that it wasn't uncommon back then for smaller markets to receive first-run movies later and that that happened with Star Wars in some places around the country. I do know the preview was the night before it officially opened in Knoxville, so I'm still pretty confident it was May 24 - I'm just not super confident.