During my 15-minute morning commute today, WXPN played cuts by Fats Domino (1955), Joe Jackson (1979), and The Cars (1978).
Great artists, great tunes all.
Paris was an energetic, frequently frenetic and occasionally tasteless tastemaker whose idiosyncratic on-air personality thrived at 'XPN in the late '70s and early '80s, long after those storied free-form FM days were over (just ask Michael Tearson) but before the station evolved into a (theoretically) non-commercial powerhouse.
Not that there's anything wrong with capitalism: Paris, who died in 1986, also migrated to the commercial side of the spectrum. Times do change. And these days terrestrial radio stations, like broadcast TV and, come to think of it, newspapers, struggle as alternatives metastasize.
So perhaps it makes sense for XPN to fill its airwaves -- once a refreshing oasis in the algorhythmic desert - with focus-group-tested warhorses, interspersed with the occasional house fave-du-jour. Like, say, Dawes.
And perhaps, from his mosh pit up there in irony heaven, Lee Paris is smiling. Or smirking.
His legendary late-Sunday-night show on 'XPN, you may remember, was called "Yesterday's now music today."