WABX Gets It On

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Fifth Estate # 65, October 31-November 13, 1968

As Tony Reay says [FE #65, October 31-November 13] “WABX strikes again.” And they did, with ripples from the blow coming all the way back to Detroit from England. The WABX audience was the first, anywhere in the world, to hear the new Beatles” double record album, “Sexy Sadie,” on tapes of the new release that came “from a source close to the Beatles,” according to station manager John Detz.

The tapes began playing at 9:00 pm, October 22 on the Dan Carlisle show. Dan told this paper, “It was the most exciting thing of my radio career. It was a beautiful thing.” The tapes have not even been played in England and the album is not scheduled for release in the U.S. until November 15.

Carlisle was about 45 minutes into playing the tapes when he received a trans-Atlantic call from Northern Music Publishers in London, the Beatles’ music company. They said they had received a call from Capitol Records in Hollywood, who had received a call from the Detroit distributor saying that the new records were being played without authorization. Carlisle said, “It really blew my mind getting a call from London and having a voice tell me that if I did not immediately stop playing the tapes an injunction would be issued against the station.” However, after brief negotiations Carlisle was given permission to play the remainder of the tapes.

So, not only is ABX the first station to play the Beatles’ new release, but the Fifth Estate becomes the first newspaper in the world to carry a review of the album. Big deal.

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