Remember the Anchorage Music Scene?
by Michael R Dougherty
The Blue Chip Stock
Do you remember some of the bands that made up the Anchorage, Alaska music scene back in the 1960's to 1970's?
The band in the picture above is the Blue Chip Stock. Their keyboard player, Skip Conte, also played for Anchorage's Pulsating Heartbeats, and went on to play for Three Dog Night and the Blues Image and co-write their hit song, "Ride Captain Ride.
Other Anchorage rock bands included the Arsons, the Outlaws, the Pulsating Heartbeats and Mother's Apple Pie and Baseball Band.
When I worked at KTVA channel 11 in Anchorage, a KBYR DJ by the name of Bruce Kier brought in Johnny Collinsworth from the Buckaroo Club to do a 1/2 hour weekly show that we produced during the week and aired on Saturday nights called "Johnny Collinsworth and the Country Capers Country Music Variety Show". My brother Tom Dougherty and I directed the shows. Guests included Nancy Lee and a fiddle player named Shorty Ladd. The band was excellent and the show was very creative.
KTVA also did another show called "Country City Music Time" and we shot the weekly show on location at Country City on the Seward Highway.
While at KYES channel 5, we did a weekly show with a country singer named Sonny Day. His steel guitar player's day job was Chief Engineer for KTVA.
The Pines Club was another popular venue for local music and well known entertainers as well.
A fellow by the name of Doug Hager became a local Anchorage, Alaska legend as Mr. White Keys. I first met Mr. White Keys when KAKM channel 7 had him host a series of local radio DJ stories for the weekly Anchorage TV magazine show, "Southcentral".
Mr. Whitekeys, aka, "W. Keys" and his band played regularly at Chilkoot Charlies, where they "cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you". Later, Mr. White Keys opened his own place in Spenard, the Fly-by-Night Club, where his band was known as Mr. White Keys and the Fabulous Spamtones. At the club, if you ordered spam, you got a free glass of champaign. Later, Mr. White Keys put together the "Whale Fat Follies" and the rest is Anchorage, and Spenard history.
The place to go for live music for Anchorage teens, were a number of teen night clubs put together by local DJ Ron Moore (the Royal Coachman) and Pacesetters.
Some of the bands included the Arsons, the Chandels, G Morgan S and the Jets, the Gatormen, the Pulsating Heartbeats, the Johnson Brothers, the Nomads, the Outlaws, Proof, the Prophets and the Quarrymen to name a few.
Do you remember the Royal Pad, Cinnamon Cinder and of course the Cheetah on Government hill. There were also weekly teen dances featuring live music at Shindig City, a Mountainview roller rink, the national guard armory and the old Sports Arena on Fireweed.
The Anchorage Music Scene
Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg.