With many apologies to Bryan Adams, the summer of 83 was fantastic in the city of Nashville for me, as the summer of 69 was to him. About to enter my sophomore year at McGavock and the most popular person in town was a DJ that we ALL listened to every day.
These kids today will never know the absolute pop culture impact of one Carl P. Mayfield. In fact, I am not sure there were any DJ’s in the world because all we knew was Carl P. and that was OK with us.
He was the DJ on WKDF but all of us dropped the W and just went with the KDF. In the summer of 83, there were 3 huge concerts that were going to roll through Nashville. The three bands were The Kings, Def Leppard and The Flock of Seagulls. All were massively popular at the time and the marketing genius at KDF said, “Let’s make the summer of 83, the summer of KDF.” They turned KDF into Kinks, Def Leppard, Flock of Seagulls.
KDF! Brilliant. But you had to have this to win tickets on the radio which was an even greater marketing strategy.
The KDF Rock Card. Was worth absolutely nothing but it was worth more than any ATM card you had. Couldn’t put anything on it yet it was everything. I tried that summer to win tickets but to no avail but that didn’t matter. I ended up getting in to see the Kinks over at the Grand Ole Opry House that May but again, had to flash your KDF rock card once inside. Why? Because of course, that is why. I had that card. You had that card. Heck, my mother had a KDF rock card.
And we all listened to Carl P and if told us it was going to rain when the forecast was for sunny and 70, by god, it was going to rain that day.
Yes, I totally know it was a different time then but we will probably never see a local DJ who we all thought was part of our family. When Bubba Skynard, his alter-ego ran for mayor a few years later, we all expected him to win in a landslide. And we all hung on every word Bubba Skynard said as well.
Back to 1983 though. MTV was hitting it’s second year but for us, Carl P. was our MTV on the radio. We listened. We laughed. He made light of everyone and everything. Remember when late night TV wasn’t so one-sided and cruel and everyone was fair game, that was Carl P. Every day. Every single day. We would leave football practice or school and our radio was set on 103.3. I think every pre-set, for that had that luxury in your car, were all set on KDF 103.
The summer of 83. That Rock Card. Carl P. Laughter. Growing up. And priceless memories.
If you are not from Nashville, I hope you had a Carl P.