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throwdown thursIf you are a music lover and you haven't been listening to BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN with Spins Nitely, then check it out!

NEW TIME! Every THURSDAY at 8 PM. Watch and listen live at http://wildfireradio.com/big-daddy-graham.

This week will be TEN GREATEST SONGS ABOUT CITIES with special guest: DEBBIE GET HOME RIGHT NOW OR I'M GONNA BREAK YOUR FACE GRAHAM! Plus a ton of discussion and extra goodies.  (Of course it's a podcast so you can listen to any of the 16 previous shows at anytime).   

Up now is THE TEN GREATEST JOHN LENNON BEATLE SONGS. BTW, you'll be able to call in to the podcast when you watch or listen live and I encourage you to do so. Don't miss!


I am going to HAWAII! Why don't you come with me?  We're gonna cruise the Hawaiian Islands with the Norwegian Cruise Line starting on Sept. 26th.  Call YMT TRAVEL @ 800-622-7220.


TWO FUNNY PHILLY GUYS starring the amazing Joe Conklin & myself is returning to the Deauviile Inn in Strathmere (right on the bay between Ocean City & Sea Isle) on Saturday night Aug. 9th at 8 PM... With special guest NFL Hall of Famer RAY DIDINGER! Go to http://joeconklin.com for tickets.  This will sell out! Always does!





From the July issue of South Jersey Magazine...


Armen Ccadillac HhummerI do a once a week music podcast titled “Big Daddy’s Classic Rock Throwdown” and if I say so myself it’s a fun show.  Mullica Hill’s guitar playing comic Spins Nitely is my co-host and we usually have a third guest sitting in.  It’s a podcast so you can listen to any of it’s episodes anytime you want, but it airs live every Thursday night at 9pm from Wildfire Studio’s in Collingswood. 

Collingswood.  What a classic South Jersey town.  I dated a chick who lived on Franklin Street the summer after my Senior year and loved that town then and forgotten how cool and vibrant that town currently is.  (The Pop Shop on Haddon rocks!)

The title of the show can cause problems.  What qualifies as “classic rock?”  Well, I decided that anything before the Beatles is an “oldie.”  So Elvis Presley doesn’t qualify, yet “Suspicious Minds,” one of The King’s triumphant tunes ever, comes out the summer of ‘69, which is pretty much when The Beatles are breaking up.  See the problem?

Then I decided that any song that is still popular after twenty years qualifies as “classic” doesn’t it?  Rock bands like Nirvana, Green Day, and Pearl Jam should get their due.   But boy did I discover that there are classic rock purists who want nothing to do with those bands.  Blasphemy!

I want to thank Matt Cord of WMMR and Ray Koob of WMGK who I will email to see if their stations currently, or once did, play songs by a particular artist if I need to back up an argument.

surfboardWith July here, one of my show topics this month will be “The Top Ten Classic Rock Summer Songs.”  With apologies to Will Smith’s “Summertime,” which obviously does not fit the format, here come the Top Ten.  Remember, these are songs that somewhere in the lyric mentions summer.  Or it’s in the title.  I realize there are many songs that make you think of a particular summer (like last years “Blurred Lines”), but that’s only because they might have been the hit of that particular summer. 

They will be listed in IPod alphabetical order, so don't think I'm ranking one song over another.  It was hard enough breaking it down to ten.

ALICE COOPER’S “SCHOOLS OUT”   Alice Cooper once said that the two most exciting moments in a kids life are Christmas morning and the last day of school.  “If I can capture that feeling in a three minute song, I’ll produce a classic.”  He sure did.  Released in May of 1972, it became Alice’s biggest hit ever and I still have the “school desk” album cover it came in. 

THE BEACH BOYS  “DO IT AGAIN” I easily could have made a list of the Top Ten Beach Boy Summer Songs since they are responsible for more awesome summer tunes than any other band in music history.  “Do It Again” is the Boys at their rocking best.  Sun, surf, girls, fun, this track has it all.  I saw them on the Wildwood beach on July 4th some years ago and it doesn’t get any more perfect than that does it?  Do you know I have an autographed portrait of Brian Wilson hanging in my Sea Isle house?  How cool is that?

BOB SEGER’S “NIGHT MOVES”   Who didn’t work on their “moves” in the summer?  And I’m not talking moves on the basketball court or baseball diamond.  I once waited till the night before we went back to school, the last night of freedom,  to make my move on Rita DiMucci.  But better late than never since it’s a night I’ll never forget.  Not that I got past second base.  But it was a start.  “Working on our night moves in the sweet sweet summertime.”  It’s Seger’s first national hit and the song was released at Christmas!

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’S “4TH OF JULY, ASBURY PARK (SANDY)    First of all, can I complain about the stupid use of parentheses in many sing titles?   Just call the song “Sandy” for Chrissakes already.  Another artist who has many songs that make me think of summer.  “Drinking warm beer in the soft summer rain” from “Jungleland” comes to mind, but “Sandy” is the real deal.  It’s got it all.  Fireworks, the tilt-a-whirl, the boardwalk, and seashore bars.  Even her name, Sandy,  was a great choice.

BRYAN ADAM’S “SUMMER OF ‘69”    It bugs me that this is the youngest song on this list,  being released in the summer of 1985.  While today’s pop stars and rappers are still writing beach and summer songs, the current batch of rockers have apparently more important seasons and topics to write about.  C’mon, get with the program. 

DON HENLEY’S “BOYS OF SUMMER”   Summer’s famous for losing your inhibitions and has there ever been a song that captures innocence lost better than this masterpiece?  Well, maybe “Hotel California” another Henley lyric.    It was a well that Henley drew from often and the fact that this song was released in October, after the summer of ’84 was over,  was not by accident.  One of the best video’s ever produced on top of it.

THE DOOR’S “SUMMERS ALMOST GONE”   Why is it that every Doors song reminds me of summer?  Yet only half of their albums were released that time of the year.  The album this underappreciated gem comes off of, the amazing “Waiting For The Sun, ” was released in July and it sure sounds like it.  It’s smoldering.  If you’re not familiar with this cut, download it.  “Where will we be after the summer’s gone.”  So many friends made in the summer.  Some last.  Some don’t.

THE KINKS “SUNNY AFTERNOON   Released in 1966, it’s the oldest song to make the list and it barely has anything to do with summer.  Ray Davies, the brilliant songwriter behind the Kinks, uses the lyric to complain about taxes.  Seriously, that’s what this song is about.  But it has this incredibly catchy, hummable melody that fits with “Lazing on a sunny afternoon in the summertime” and almost fifty years later no one can resist singing it when they hear it.

THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL’S “SUMMER IN THE CITY”   Released in July of ’66, this is not about summer at the shore.  Or at a picnic. This is a city summer song that sounds as if it came rising like steam off the streets of Camden.  No song recorded by anybody ever captured heat and grime and sweat and humidity like this baby.  “Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city.”  Some of you may think the Lovin’ Spoonful are an “oldies” band and not “classic” rockers, but they’re in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and despite all their other terrific hits, it was this scorching song that put them in there.

THE WHO’S “SUMMERTIME BLUES”   There’s nothing about the Who that reminds me about summer at all, but I love them and I just had to get this song on there.  A big hit for them in the July of ’70.

OK, I know, your personal favorite classic rock summer song might not have made it.  Send your arguments to bigdaddy295@aol.com, but remember this.  No song makes me think of summer more than Louis Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly” and I had to leave that off here because it’s not a “classic rocker.”  When I was a kid I used to travel to Wildwood by bus with my Mother and the bus would stop at this diner in Collings Lakes.  It was a scheduled stop and the owner of the joint would play “Hello Dolly” on the jukebox and accompany the song with a real trumpet.  I never hear that song today without  excitement brewing in the pit of my stomach with the realization that I may be on my way to the beach!

So bring your Beats to the beach, crank up that volume, and start singing.  “It’s summertime and the living is easy.”  Just don’t forget the sunscreen.  And the beer.


Here's who we have nominated SO FAR in alphabetical order!




















MONDAY ~  Quizzo night at the Pour House in Sea Isle at 9 PM.

TUESDAY ~ Tuesday Nights with the PHILS at PJ WHELIHAN’S in Maple Shade... every Tuesday night at 7 PM!

WEDNESDAY ~ Champps in KOP from 5 PM to 7:30.  Then at Timmy Fitz's Crest Tavern in Wildwood Crest for Quizzo starting at 9:15.


My daughter Ava is running a Quizzo nite every every Monday at 7:30pm at ROCCO'S in Wilmington!   And now at CHICKIE & PETE'S in Drexel Hill every Tuesday at 7 PM! Plus every Wednesday night at 8PM at PJ WHELIHANS in Haddonfield. Don't forget Thursday night at 7pm at CHICKIE & PETE'S in South Philly!.    That's a busy schedule!




Here's the June article of the Sea Isle Times


June.  For me that month will always signal one landmark moment.  Getting out of school.  But for women around the world, June is a month they dream about most of their lives.  (And Dads dread)  A June wedding. 

A couple on my street in Sea Isle are getting hitched on June 28th and one windy afternoon hanging on the beach our crowd suddenly realized that five married couples on our street had met in Sea Isle.  And that’s just five that we know of.  There are some folks on the street that want nothing to do with us. 

Everyone had different theories but in the end, one thing we all agreed upon was that the deciding factor had to be the ocean.  It’s great for romance.  At least that’s how the women put it.  I’m not so sure its “romance” that guys are seeking when they enter a packed Ocean Drive on a Saturday night.  But the ocean sounds as good as any other notion to me.

But I figured So I mentioned this on the air at 94WIP and he next thing you know my phone lines lit up with listeners calling in to tell  their stories of  (By the way, my wife and I met in Sea Isle, but I’ve already wrote about that)


Anthony and Megan Romano went to the same Northeast Philly grade school, Benjamin Rush.  They went to the same high school, George Washington High. They graduated from both schools the same year.  Twelve tears of the same schools together.  And they never met.  They were just never in the same class.  They didn’t run with the same crowd.

Yet, as the 24 year olds stood across from each other as the tiny boat amusement ride circled around at Fun City twenty-two summers ago, they knew there was some connection.  When Anthony, who was there with his brother and his son, approached Megan with the line, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”, she thought it was pretty lame.  Her friend, whose son they were waving to on the boat, rolled her eyes.  Yet Megan felt like she did know him from somewhere.

The mystery slowly unraveled as the two of them chatted and today they’ve been married eighteen years with a set of identical twin girls.  And guess what?  They discovered they were in the same kindergarten class together as well.


Three summers ago Marie came to my Quizzo night at the Pour House the beginning of August.  I was surprised to see her. Her husband Billy had died back in November.  She had married Billy at nineteen and he was the only man she ever really knew.  She had dated a couple other guys in high school but it never went further that that.  Now here she was a widow at fifty-two with two grown kids out of the house already.

She was staying at her sister’s condo at 34th & Landis, but her sister had to run up to the city, so there she was standing in front of me.  “What’s up” said I, giving her a hug.  There was a time back in the day when I saw Marie a lot.  She ran with the same girls my boys partied with in Southwest Philly.   She was the first one in our crowd to get married.

I had seen her and Billy at various weddings and christenings over the years, but for the most part, she had drifted away.  In fact, her husband’s viewing was the first time I had seen her in at least five years.

Marie went on to tell me that this night was the first night she had ventured out “alone” since Billy’s death.  That it was actually a relief to go out without one of her sisters because they were always encouraging her to date again and she found it tiresome.  She figured “what the hell.”  She could walk to the Pour House and it wasn’t (because of me) that she wouldn’t know anybody there.  My wife was present that night and the two of them, who never really knew each other that well, got along great.

Marie ended up coming out the remainder of August and would actually help me run the night, passing out Quizzo sheets and whatnot.  She enjoyed herself immensely and then, on the last Monday before Labor Day, she met Frank Cooney. 

Frank was divorced and out celebrating his 60th birthday with his two sons.  One of his sons was a regular listener of mine and he asked me who Marie was.  It turned out that Frank’s son was his “wingman” so to speak. 

Frank bought Marie a drink and today Marie and Frank are happily married and living in Doylestown and I haven’t seen her since.  I need a new Quizzo assistant!


Jody Koons, 22,  of Collingswood New Jersey wasn’t feeling particularly well this August evening of 1986.  “Feeling too well?”  Let’s be a little more blunt.  She was puking up everything she had eaten since her first Communion.  She was sitting on the curb across the street from the Ocean Drive.  She had gone to see Secret Service’s jam session and had gotten separated from her girlfriends.

“You alright there, babe?” said Joey Hughes, 23, of Fishtown.  Joey was walking back to his rented house of 32nd St. with his buddies who kept walking as Joey halted.  “C’mon, babe, get out of the street.  Give me your hand.”  Joey pulled her up.  “C’mon. sit down.  Your face is a mess.”   Jimmy took off his “North Catholic” shirt and handed it to her. 

“I can’t use that, it’s your shirt,” mumbled Jody.  “Oh, go ahead, I can get another.” replied Joey.  “It’s just a shirt.  Now let’s get you up and walking.”  Jodi wiped her face with the shirt and Joey tossed it in the trash.  They walked over to Casino Pizza and Joey bought her a bottled water.  They started talking as they walked towards her rental at 55th St. It turned out they had a mutual friend who worked for Merck.  There was something about her that Joey liked but when they got to her place, for some reason he didn’t ask for her number.

He never saw her again that season and all winter long he kicked himself for not getting that damn number.  He couldn’t stop thinking about her.

The following summer Joey bumped into her at, of course, Casino Pizza.  “Well, you certainly look better than the last time I saw you.” laughed Joey and Marie smiled.

Today, they’ve been married 24 years with four kids (Sea Isle sure is a Catholic town).  For their 10th anniversary Marie got Joey a retro North Catholic shirt to honor their first meeting. 

So the next time she see some dude walking down Central with no shirt on rapping up some chick, remember, it could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.


It was Friday night and Louie, 23,  got on the jitney at JFK Blvd. heading towards his Uncle Pat’s house on 78th St.  Just before the doors, closed three chicks in their young twenties squeezed on.  It was only 1030pm.  A little early to be giving up on the bars, but Louie wasn’t in the mood.  Louie was gonna chill and start watching the new season of “Orange Is The New Black.”

The girls were giggling and having a good time and the Ginger of the three was really pretty.  Louie did his best not to out right stare at her, but he knew he got busted once.  Or was she checking him out?  The Ginger said to the other girls, “Let’s pull an all-nighter and watch every episode.’  Her friend replied back “Mary, that’s like thirteen hours!”

Louie jumped in.  “Are you talking about “Orange Is The New Black?  That show is awesome!”  “It is!” said Mary. 

“C’mon Mary, this is our stop.” said her friend at 60th St.  The girls started exiting the jitney and right before she got off, Mary scurried back to Louie and whispered in his ear.  “Like me on Facebook at Ginger Mary O and we’ll talk about “Orange.” And then she hustled off the jitney.

Well, Ginger Mary O never did pull that all-nighter, but as the deadline for this article has arrived, Louie and Marie did finish Season Two of “Orange” and they’re meeting at Kixx on July 4th.

Who knows where that will end up?  But I know this for sure.  Louie’s got the greatest “wingman” in the world.  The ocean.  Good luck!


From the June edition of South Jersey Magazine...


Mother’s Day is the single most important holiday we have.  I wish it were treated as huge as Christmas and you had to shop for all the Mothers in your family besides just your own.

Father’s Day, however, is tricky.  I cannot tell you how many friends and acquaintances have had distant and difficult relationships with their Dads.  Now I realize that there are many women who had strained bonds with their Mother’s, but at least they had one.  I know of very few Mothers who abandoned their children.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Dads.  Due to divorce and unwanted, unexpected parenthood, I know many “weekend Dads,” but very, very few “weekend Moms.”  And the term “single Moms” exists for a reason, doesn’t it?

I have strong, fond memories of my Dad when I was little.  He taught me how to ride a bike.  Not that there was a scientific method to it.  He put me on this big red Schwinn with the block pedals and placed me on the seat and gave me a push.  When I fell, he would put me back up on the seat, give me another little push till I toppled again.  Being that I was crashing on to the hard cement of Patterson schoolyard, I quickly learned to stay up.

In that same schoolyard he would hit hundreds of flyballs to me.  He could really smack that ball around.  He was so terrific at it that soon word would get out throughout the parish and soon there would be a dozen kids shagging flyballs alongside me.

He loved to walk.  Hours on end.  Often there was a VFW or CWV club at the end of these journeys where he would pop back a few, but I didn’t care.  I always got a bag of chips and a coke out of this “don’t tell your Mother” deal.

dad medalsBut there was something odd going on throughout these years that I didn’t quite notice then because I was a kid and how would I know better? He rarely, if ever, talked.

We would go to an occasional Phillies game and that involved well over an hour of public transportation to get there.  The ride there?  The entire game?  The ride back?  He might say ten words the entire time.

Then when I became old enough to talk back and question stuff, he shut up completely.  He sat at the kitchen table all night, listen to a ballgame or KYW, and drink whatever cheap beer was on sale at the beer distributorship that week.

He completely disappeared into the kitchen for the rest of his life.  He had no idea what I was up to.  Ever.  If a half dozen words were uttered between us for the last thirteen years of his life I would be surprised.

He wasn’t a bad guy.  He worked every day at the Navy Yard.  Never hit anybody.  Didn’t blow his wages gambling.  I could think of plenty of worse Dads just on the block.

It was just weird having this 300 pound alcoholic elephant in the room.  When he died at 62 (I was 25) , I felt nothing.  Not even any shame over that fact.

What happens years later gets strange.  My sister called me one day asking me a question about him.  I couldn’t answer her.  When I hung up I realized that I could barely remember anything about him at all.  He had become this blurry photo.  In fact, barely any photos of him existed.
I had this blank book sitting on my desk that someone gave me for my birthday.  I started writing down any memories of him that I could recall.  Usually just a paragraph or two.  Something like “he would eat horseradish right out of the jar.”  Some days I would write two or three memories, then go a month without writing any at all.  After a year I couldn’t think of any more.  Sixty-seven memories.  That was it.

The book sat on my desk for a couple years.  At the time the desk was in my finished Mullica Hill basement that also featured a huge bar.  Many parties were thrown there and during one of those jams, a writer friend of mine named Larry Platt (who ended up being the editor of Philadelphia Magazine and the Philadelphia Daily News) saw this book on the desk and, unbeknownst to me, starting reading it.  He came up to me and said what is this?  I said “well, I guess it’s the story of my Dad.”  He was fascinated by it and actually finished it at the party.  (It’s a really short book)

To make a long story short, this “book” ended up published and has now sold over 30,000 copies.   Go figure.  All this over a man who barely said two words to anybody.

Now it gets really weird.  Ten years ago I buy a rancher in Sea Isle City and my new next door neighbor, a man named Paul Koons, had read the book and asked me about my Dad’s time in World War II.  There had been a page that mentioned that my Father had fought in the Battle of the Bulge.  I told him that I knew nothing about it at all.  That my Father had never said a single solitary word about his days during the War.  I told Paul that before the book came out I thought I would try to find out what I could about his military service and that my efforts had been thwarted by a fire that had destroyed thousands of records.

Here comes the “small world” part of this saga.  As it turned out Paul used to work for the Veterans Administration and one day I was sitting in my beach chair when he dropped a two inch thick dossier on to my lap.  It documented my Dad’s entire time in the Army from his boot camp induction to a receipt of the four hundred dollar check the Army had given my Mother to help with funeral costs.  How did he obtain all this info?
Well, it turned out that my Dad’s records were kept in a different warehouse.  A building that stored only the documentation of servicemen who had won medals.  What?  Medals?  What medals?

It turned out that during the Battle of the Bulge my Dad was positioned in a tree with a bazooka ready to take out a German tank.  Only the tank saw him first and blew him out of the tree.  Despite being badly wounded, he got up and continued fighting saving American lives in the process.  For this he was awarded the Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. 

Dr DonnHowever, it doesn’t end like some John Wayne movie.  My Dad ended up suffering a nervous breakdown and was ordered off to a hospital in Belgium for a couple months before he was shipped back to the states where he spent more time in another hospital in Virginia before he was kicked out into the real world. 

“Good luck kid.”

Now I’m no psychiatrist, but it sure seemed like all this possibly explained the silence and the drinking.  I mean there’s a chance, isn’t there?  He never had a drink before the war.  Men of my Dad’s generation weren’t exactly touchy-feely.  You did your bit and you didn’t whine about it.  Not one person in my family knew about these medals.  I’m not even sure he did.  My Dad.  A war hero. 

I have since heard from many people who tell me that their Dads also never said a word about their time in the war.  For a lot of men the horrors were so bad they just blocked it out of their minds forever.  Or so they thought.  Imagine carrying something like that around.

So here’s the moral of the story.  Write a book about your parents.  I’m serious.  The simplicity of my book proves to you that it’s not that difficult.  Just occasionally jot down a note or two.  It’s actually fun.  The story of my Dad is proof that you have no idea where your Mother or Father’s tales may take you.  I surely didn’t.  What were the chances of me moving next door to a man who had worked for the Veterans Administration?

And those medals?  With the help of the late Senator Arlen Specter, who I had interviewed many times at WIP, they are now hanging in my house.

Happy Father’s Day Dad.



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