[We would like to thank David Schlesinger, user @slesss, for this piece. -Ed.]
In the Fall of 1987, synth pop darlings Depeche Mode, still very much a UK “alternative” band at the time, put out their sixth studio record, Music for the Masses. It was not a noticeable departure from the music that they had been putting out previously, but for some reason it just hit different. As a result, they went from a band almost never heard on commercial radio (unless you lived in LA and were blessed with KROQ, the first mainstream modern rock station) or had a cool older sibling/neighbor/camp counselor that turned you on to the good stuff.
The success of the record led to a world tour during which they sold out the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. (That’s 60,000 souls, for those counting.) And just like that, alternative was no longer alternative by definition and kids across America were now hearing a more eclectic sampling of music on their favorite radio stations, spawning curiosity and a desire to discover bands beyond those had been fed to them. Radio was priming the youth for hair metal, but even MTV started spreading its wings and launched 120 Minutes, 2 hours on Sundays at midnight during which we could get our first visuals of all of these incredible bands that were now kickstarting the youth of America to make better mixtapes.
Fast forward to 2023: The team of volunteers that put in the work to make this incredible website and The Mockingbird Foundation thrive, got together to talk about new touchpoints to the community we love oh so much - and beyond! It was easy. We all love music. Like, LOVE music. And we are living in a time during which the words Jam Band define a genre far more vast than the days of yore. Queue: Mockingbird Radio a genre- free series of playlists that we hope bring some fun to your road trips, after-show dance parties, and beyond. Don’t get it twisted; it’s not a Jam Band Station; that was simply a relevant particle of motivation. Our debut playlist is simply titled “Summer Tour Prep”, curated by everyone on the team that wanted to throw a couple tunes in the mix. Nothing was excluded; - there’s something for everyone. Hit shuffle, and have fun!
With roots in almost every genre that comes to mind, coupled with guest curators and themed mixtapes, we hope you’ll dig our Music for the Masses, spawned simply out of a passion for music, a digital jukebox with an endless supply of both new and old - and the fun that will be in exploring some of the music that inspired, helped spawn and continues to motivate that one band we wouldn’t be here without.
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The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $2 million to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.