I was just thirteen when my love affair with rock 'n roll first began. In 1957, I wandered into the midst of a press conference for Elvis Presley at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. Elvis was just the warm-up act for Schecky Green then, but he had an electricity that you could feel.
After shaking Elvis' hand, I went home and played "Heartbreak Hotel" nearly 100 times in a row. From that afternoon on, I've felt, lived, and loved rock 'n roll.
By the time I was fourteen, I had my own weekly radio show called "Strictly Teens" on KENO Radio Las Vegas.
In the decade that followed, rock 'n roll was my life. I divided my time between hosting a daily radio show, a weekly T.V. dance show, "Teenbeat Las Vegas," and promoting one of the nation's first teenage nightclubs, "The Teenbeat Club."
I brought artists such as The Beach Boys, Bobby Vinton, Bobby Vee, Dick & DeeDee, Bobby Darin, The Grateful Dead, The Surfaris, The Checkmates, Bobby Rydell and many others to my club.
From the syrupy "Teen Angel" by Mark Dinning in 1960 to the serious chords of Jimi Hendrix' "Purple Haze" in 1967, I loved what happened to rock 'n roll during the decade of the 60's.
The music of the 60's mirrored our lives with songs that changed with the times. The Beach Boys painted pictures of bikini clad girls and fun in the sun. Martha & The Vandellas had us dancin' in the street with the slick choreographed soul beat of Motown. The Beatles were catalysts that transcended the syrup to the serious. The Rolling Stones changed the American style with their mop-haired look. The Doors' psychedelic songs brought us a national social consciousness.
In the late 1980's, I went back to the 60's when I hosted a prototype Rock Files show on KTYD Radio in Santa Barbara. The three hour weekly show renewed my love affair with rock 'n roll radio. It also pulled a 51% audience share, and was the number one show in the market.
Like most of our nation, I love the music of the 60's. Join me as I turn back the pages to the 1960's on The Rock Files.
In May of 2010, Keith Austin was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his pioneering work in early concert promotions and creating America's first teenage nightclub, The Teenbeat Club in Las Vegas, Nevada.