Johnson's Improbable History of Pop

KPBX: Saturday 9pm-10pm

John Johnson conducts a tour of the obscure world of early rock and pop music. The 95% of records that never got commercial airtime have a home, Johnson’s Improbable History of Pop features those artists who fell through the commercial cracks.

September 1, 2018
Ricky Nelson

Cross section starting with 1950's rockabilly roots, on through teen idol era of 1960's, and into his 1970's resurgence as country rock pioneer.

September 8, 2018
Nashville Psychodrama

Highlights from recent Australian compilations of vintage (1954-1974) hard country ruminations on a rapidly changing world, including Freddy Hart, Stonewall Jackson, Roger Miller and Eddie Noack.

August 4, 2018
Inside the Yellow Submarine

Guest Bob Gallagher of 4000 Holes presents the back stories and studio works in progress of this chapter in the Beatles remarkable legacy.

August 11, 2018
Steely Dan

A tribute to quirky jazz influenced 1970's pop stars, including their later solo work and their unexpected 21st century comeback.

Montana Folk Festival Live Broadcast

Jul 11, 2018

Tune in Saturday, July 14th from 7:00-10:00 p.m. on KPBX for a special live broadcast from the Montana Folk Festival in partnership with Montana Public Radio.

November Programs

Oct 30, 2017

November 4, 2017
Styx at the Starting Gate

Guest Doug Buckley with highlights from Chicago bands early 1970's output on the independent Wooden Nickel label before their national stardom.

November 11, 2017
Neil Young's Homegrown

On the eve of Neil's 72nd birthday, guest Babbo provides a preview of a long delayed "lost" album finally slated for official release.

October Programs

Sep 30, 2017

September 30 & October 7, 2017
An Alternate Oktoberfest

Celebrate the Munich festival with samples of the West German progressive rock movement of the early 1970's. We'll hear from Guru Guru, Frumpy, Jane, Birth Control, Eloy, King Ping Meh, the Scorpions (long before their 1980 MTV success), and many more.

September Programs

Sep 1, 2017

September 2, 2017
Paul Butterfield Blues Band

The influential Chicago group featuring guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Pigout at the Park guest Elvin Bishop.

September 9, 2017
David Gates Before the Bread Rolled In

A cross section of David's early studio work as a songwriter, arranger, and producer for a remarkable variety of performers prior to his best-selling Bread group. Includes collaborations with his fellow Tulsa transplant Leon Russell.

August Programs

Aug 2, 2017

August 5, 2017
Little Walter

A tribute to harmonica player and vocalist Little Walter, a man often called the Charlie Parker of blues harp and a mainstay of Muddy Water's classic 1950's band.

August 12, 2017
Milk from the Tree

Female vocal folk and singer-songwriters from 1966 to 1973 including Sandy Denny, Judee Sill, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Jackie Deshannon.

July Programs

Jul 1, 2017

July 1, 2017
The Original Psychadelic Folk Rock Blues Band

The Grateful Dead in the early days of 1966 and 1967 captured live up and down the West Coast.

July 8, 2017
The Yardbirds Fly Again

Part two of a survey started in 2000 with a career view of adventurous British band best known for launching careers of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page.

June Programs

Jun 2, 2017

June 3, 2017
British Hard Rock Contenders

The stories of Spooky Tooth and Steamhammer, who both issued multiple quality albums with modest commercial success.

June 10, 2017
Joy Division

A look at the influential post punk from Manchester U.K. band featuring vocalist Ian Curtis and future members of New Order.

June 17, 2017
Second Stax of Memphis

A follow-up to a 2007 show, with highlights from the second box set of Stax singles focused on 1968 to 1971 and the transition from soul to funk.

May Programs

May 3, 2017

May 6, 2017
Still Going Fast

Check Berry, Hoyt Axton, the Beach Boys, and Spokane's own Charlie Ryan with tales of vehicles and their drivers that zoom by you in an instant. A follow-up to a 2009 episode.

May 13, 2017
Bob Dylan's Epics

Some of the recent Nobel Prize winner's greatest long songs, including the best ever live version of "Desolation Row."