By Steve Cichon
Excerpt from 100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting
After being the first in the nation to attempt a poorly received “sing-along” format, WEBR rebooted its image in 1962 with the new “The Sound of the City” theme song.
The Courier-Express’ Jack Allen called The Sound of the City “a bit of good music a cut above the jarring jingles so often associated with commercial AM radio.”
“The Sound of the City” was originally written for San Francisco radio station KSFO, which was owned by Gene Autry, and resung for radio stations around the country.
Johnny Mann– best known as the music director on the Joey Bishop Show– wrote the song which was performed by “The Johnny Mann Singers.”
Among those nameless faceless Johnny Mann singers was Thurl Ravenscroft, who was the singing voice of “The Grinch” with Boris Karloff’s narration. Also, as Tony the Tiger, he bellowed out “They’rrrrre GREAT!” on Frosted Flakes commercials for 30 years.
His deep throaty vibrato is easy to pick out in the line, “faint is the thunder of Niagara, soft is the murmur from the lake.”
Lyrics to “The Buffalo Anthem,” as sung by The Johnny Mann Singers
The Sound of the City,
the Good Neighbor City,
the Sound of Buffalo.
Are mixed with daylight’s glimmering rays,
and moonbeams shimmering glow.
When darkness settles on the city,
night sounds slowly come awake.
Faint is the thunder of Niagara,
soft is the murmur from the lake.
Hear the Sound of the city,
the sounds that are heard in Buffalo, New York.
When the Boulevard Mall opened in 1962, it was the first to offer “weatherproof shopping” in an enclosed mall space in Western New York.
WEBR deejays Jack Eno, Carrol Hardy, Al Meltzer and others broadcast live from the mall during its first days open to the public.
This page is an excerpt from 100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting by Steve Cichon
The full text of the book is now online.
The original 436-page book is available along with Steve’s other books online at The Buffalo Stories Bookstore and from fine booksellers around Western New York.
©2020, 2021 Buffalo Stories LLC, staffannouncer.com, and Steve Cichon