Posted by Tom Locke on February 23rd, 2023 filed in Education, General, History, Life, Music
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“Moments in Time” Captures Rock n’ Roll Trivia and the Music of the 50s, 60s and 70s

Vancouver music historian Tom Locke transfers his encyclopedic knowledge from the airwaves to the page / BY KIM HUGHES / FEBRUARY 10TH, 2023

Tom Locke is the kind of guy you hope to sit beside on a long-haul flight. The 72-year-old Vancouver-based music historian is upbeat and approachable, and filled to the brim with fascinating trivia about rock and roll from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Love of music from that formative era propelled Locke to create a radio series called Moments in Time, where snappy scripted origin stories about hits and notable misses from the past are read and then capped with a spin of the song in question.

In August 2000, Locke’s segments — which he’d been brainstorming since 1986 — began running on Treasure Island Oldies, a globally broadcast radio program hosted by his friend and long-time music exec Michael Godin, the onetime vice-president of artist and repertoire with A&M Records Canada. They met through a mutual friend after Godin moved to the west coast in the mid-80s.

The Moments in Time segments — described by Locke as “curated walks down memory lane” — air weekly to this day, and they form the foundation of Locke’s book, Moments in Time: Stories About Artists and Songs of the 50s, 60s, and 70s For Fans of Music … From a Music Fan.

Each of the 120 stories in the book, which are transcripts of the radio segments, come with a QR code that readers can scan with their mobile devices and hear the song they’ve just read about, recreating the radio experience. It’s a ball for fans of the era, with brief, factoid-rich, easily digestible tales gathered under self-explanatory headings such as “Country Crossovers,” “From Across the Pond,” and “From R&B to You and Me.”

Great tales abound. Take the story of “I Love Rock ‘n Roll,” a monster hit for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. As Locke tells it, Jett’s fledging all-female rock band, the Runaways, were on tour in 1976 when they saw a group called The Arrows performing the song on British TV. Jett was the only one who wanted to record it, which she did a few years later, to massive acclaim, after she left the Runaways.

Then there’s the story of how “Mony Mony,” by Tommy James and the Shondells, was almost called “Sloopy.” James had been struggling with a title for the song until the day he stepped outside for a break and saw the Mutual of New York building, with its initials, MONY, illuminated in red, at the top. It stuck.

Locke spoke to Zoomer about Moments in Time and why fans of the period should seek it out.

KIM HUGHES: How many of the segments you created over the years are presented in the book?

TOM LOCKE: That was the toughest part. I’ve done over a thousand of these. I still write them every week, so the hard part was whittling it down and deciding on the chapters. Could I write another book? Sure. There are lots of stories still out there to tell.

KH: The stories aren’t organized chronologically, but gathered in topical baskets. Tell me about that process?

TL: The history and evolution of rock and roll has many facets. If you look at it as a pond filled by tributaries, the chapters are those tributaries. [There were] the early days … then came the influence of females, then street corner harmony, folk music, [and music from] across the pond, with the English getting into the fray. It’s not organized chronologically, because all these things were happening simultaneously.

KH: Was using QR codes for these songs a tricky proposition given your target demographic?

TL: I got lucky, timing-wise. People who grew up with songs from the 50s, 60s and 70s maybe aren’t so tech-savvy, but during COVID, people were getting introduced to QR codes as part of their vaccination process. On top of that, restaurants started using them instead of paper menus. The older generation was forced to use them. It was a perfect fit. Plus, I wanted something unique for my book, as well as something of real value.

KH: These segments were intended for radio. It feels like the QR codes help to bridge the two mediums.

TL: Yes. And the other beautiful thing is, we all recollect music differently, depending on where you were when you first heard it. It’s like theatre of the mind. Having a written piece and a sonic piece really enhances the experience.

KH: Have any specific stories drawn outsized feedback or response?

TL: A few folks have said some stories gave them goosebumps, like the story about The Drifters and how they came to record “Save the Last Dance for Me.” I was in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015, six years before I wrote the book, and I was directed to look at this one piece, an invitation to a wedding. On the card was scrawled the lyrics to this song that became a big hit in 1959. They were scrawled by a guy named Jerome Felder, who wrote as Doc Pomus. He had to walk with crutches [Felder had polio as a child] and this was written at his wedding as he watched his wife dance with all these other guests. He came up the idea of saving the last dance for him. That really got me and a lot of other people. It’s a great story.

KH: I really like your book a lot, but I was disappointed to see a chapter titled “Girls with the Biggest Hits” since it’s obvious you think the women spotlighted are/were genuine achievers.

TL: Fair question, given the times. I guess I was hoping just to bring attention to the chapter, because there were some women in rock and roll that were phenomenal talents. Plus, they had tremendous courage and opened doors for other people. Hopefully, the respect I feel for these women comes through.

KH: It’s amazing new segments are still running today.

TL: I’ve been doing this for 23 years this August, and I still do my weekly Moment in Time. The segments air on Treasure Island Oldies on Sunday nights, then I send my most recent story out to my newsletter subscribers the next day. This work really puts a smile on my face, and hopefully will for others as well. I was getting grouchy during COVID when we were trapped. But it gave me time to write the book. Reflecting back on the music I heard growing up really cheered me. And with all the stories I have, Moments in Time 2.0 is definitely a possibility.

What A Ride

Posted by Tom Locke on November 29th, 2022 filed in Business, Education, General, Life, Music, Technology
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Officially on November 11, 2021 my new book, “Moments In Time: Stories About Artists And Songs From The 50s, 60s, & 70s. For Fans Of Music … From A Music Fan” went live on Amazon.

In the month prior (October), I picked up 700 copies of my book from my printer in Victoria. Since then I have sold 1200+ copies, created some effective marketing & promotion, and have met and been introduced to some great people during this ongoing journey.

The support I have received from family & friends, business associates, and valued colleagues has been incredible.

Moreover, my book has achieved its goal of putting smiles on people’s faces as the stories contained within the pages have brought back fond memories of enjoyable times gone by.

In addition to this, it has been recognized in the literary community – being selected as one of the three finalists in the Non-Fiction category for the 2022 Canadian Book Club Awards (winner to be announced on December 30) and receiving 5-STAR reviews from Reader Views and Readers’ Favorite, two highly regarded book clubs in the U.S. Complementing this have been the ongoing 5-STAR reviews on Amazon worldwide.

One thing that I have always promoted and took to heart in this project was the belief that “nobody tells your story better than you do.” To that end I have approved all creative, shared book information freely, did some book signings, and have given numerous interviews that have ended up in print, on podcasts, and on Internet radio shows.

In addition to putting smiles on people’s faces, the book is unique in that it embraces technology by using QR codes to allow the reader to listen to the song featured in each story. There is no other book like it in marketplace today.

It’s been a great ride to date – one that I believe will lead to even more satisfying experiences.


Posted by Tom Locke on June 14th, 2022 filed in Business, Education, Life
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A while back a business colleague of mine asked me “What is the first thing that pops into your head when you hear the word ‘money’?”

I immediately responded, “Respect it!” I then went on to say, “Money can do a lot of things for you … it can also do a lot of things to you.”

Moments In Time on TV

Posted by Tom Locke on May 16th, 2022 filed in General
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My new book “Moments In Time” was featured on a nationally syndicated show that aired on Sunday March 27 and on April 3, 2022. @ourcitytonight @jimgordontv @lifewithleeta @culturebitesvancouver #ourcitytonightv

This airing can also be viewed on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNOGwZtbj0c

Time For A Little Levity

Posted by Tom Locke on January 13th, 2022 filed in General, History, Humour, Life, Music
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Given how 2022 came on the scene, I thought it was time for a little levity. Below is a picture of me at a family event last July promoting pre-sales of my new book “Moments In Time” (www.mitstories.com). So, have a close look at what I am wearing. Can you figure out what 1959 smash hit my outfit was paying homage to?

Marching To The Beat Of Your Own Drum

Posted by Tom Locke on August 21st, 2021 filed in Business, General, Life
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By focusing on our strengths and natural tendencies, being true to who we really are, and not caring what is normal or what others think, we can do amazing things. I’m finding as I get older I am more inclined to do it “my way” and not worry so much what other people think. It’s quite freeing and I feel more in control.

COVID Challenge Becomes An Opportunity

Posted by Tom Locke on July 30th, 2021 filed in Business, Education, General, Life, Music
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The pandemic has certainly altered our business and personal lifestyles. Many of us have become very proficient at video conferencing and have been “forced” to learn how to properly interact with loved ones who are constantly around us – significant others and kids.

During the past year and half, my travel time has decreased significantly and has allowed me to revisit some projects that have sat for a great deal of time on the corner of my desk.

One of these projects relates to my passion for music. As a result, I have spent the last 18 months following up on the encouragement of the fans of Treasure Island Oldies, to write a book on the five minute featured music segments I have created/produced on a weekly basis for the show over the past 20+ years.

My new music “Fun” book, ‘Moments In Time‘, is designed to entertain, inform and not offend, as it is time to put some smiles back on people’s faces by reflecting on simpler, memorable times through the artists and music of the 50s, 60s and 70s that we and/or our parents grew up with. It is scheduled for release this fall.

Effective Promotion

Posted by Tom Locke on June 27th, 2021 filed in Business, Education, General
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Promotion of a product or an event can seem quite daunting, Breaking things down into manageable tasks and associating timelines to them is essential. It is like eating an elephant. It is doable … one piece at a time. It’s all about pacing and pacing is energy saving.

Success in promotion is based on the axiom that nobody tells your story better than you do. So, if you are prepared, you will be able to tell your story via any avenue at the drop of a hat. If you take promotion on as an opportunity as opposed to a chore, you will find it rewarding and enjoyable.

Motivation & Persistence

Posted by Tom Locke on June 3rd, 2021 filed in Business, Education, General, Life
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One of the great motivational speakers of our time was Zig Ziglar (1926 – 2012). One of his memorable quotes was “People often  say  that motivation  doesn’t last. Well,  neither does bathing, that’s why  we  recommend it.

Being and keeping motivated is an ongoing commitment and one that produces results. Getting started is often the toughest hurdle in the journey to sustainability and success. According to Ziglar, “You don’t have to be great at something to start, but you have to start to be great at something.

Supporting the above is this short inciteful video featuring some iconic people you know.

What Matters Most

Posted by Tom Locke on April 9th, 2021 filed in Business, Education, General, History, Life
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Throughout my career and personal life I have had the opportunity to be involved with people with disabilities. It was through various interactions with individuals and organizations within this community that I became extremely conscious of how lucky I was in growing up healthy and how fortunate I was to be able to support those less fortunate than myself.

If you can walk, run, and dance without pain, celebrate your good fortune. Being healthy and free of limitations is priceless. If you are pain free, COVID free, and free to do the things you want, count your blessings.

Someone else is dreaming of the things you take for granted – why not give them a hand up?