The end of a music era has now arrived

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The end of a music era has now arrived


In the 1960s, the television was still a strange object. Transistor radios were quite popular and delivered news around the world. The battery used to be bigger than the radio itself and was tightly tied to the radio with a rubber band. The whole family would gather around the radio to listen to the broadcasting of soccer matches like the King’s Cup or Merdeka Tournament. According to the patriotic commentary of the announcer, Team Korea should be winning 10-0, but we couldn’t understand why the national squad lost all the time. Radio dramas like “The Deer on the Snowfield” were popular among homemakers.

Late-night radio music program “On a Starry Night” was just as popular as sports broadcasting or dramas. Many listeners remember the music of “On a Starry Night,” which first aired in March 1969. The host was called “Night Keeper.” Among the many hosts, including Seo Se-won, Lee Mun-sae, Lee Juck and Ock Joo-hyun, Lee Jong-hwan, who passed away on Thursday at age 75, was the original star of the show.

The “music cafes” competed to recruit popular DJs. The heyday of the DJs lasted until the ’80s. They copied the style of Lee Jong-hwan and other star radio hosts and purchased new records they heard on the radio. When young people graduated from high school, going to a cafe was when they were recognized as adults. The music requests were slipped into the DJ’s box, and we were so happy when the DJ played our songs. Sometimes, a relationship began with a song, but it often ended easily. “Please don’t play that music, Mr. DJ. It reminds me of the one I’ve forgotten.” (Yun Si-nae’s “Dear DJ”) Sometimes, my girlfriend seemed more interested in the DJ than me. “She ignored her favorite snack and stared at the DJ.” (DJ DOC’s “Hurricane Park”)

The passing of Lee Jong-hwan has put an end to an era. As audio devices generally became more available in the early ’90s, music cafes disappeared. The situation has gotten worse due to a generation more familiar with videos.

Today’s DJs are different from the past. They have evolved into musicians with mixing skills to suit club culture. Would the young generation familiar with DJing at clubs understand the culture of Lee Jong-hwan’s radio era? Times may have changed, but the basic sentiment of love remains the same.

It’s those common threads that make our lives so interesting.

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Noh Jae-hyun
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