Skip to main content

Distributed for University Press of New England

Radio Free Boston

The Rise and Fall of WBCN

Blaring the Cream anthem “I Feel Free,” WBCN went on the air in March 1968 as an experiment in free-form rock on the fledgling FM radio band. It broadcast its final song, Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” in August 2009. In between, WBCN became the musical, cultural, and political voice of the young people of Boston and New England, sustaining a vibrant local music scene that launched such artists as the J. Geils Band, Aerosmith, James Taylor, Boston, the Cars, and the Dropkick Murphys, as well as paving the way for Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, U2, and many others. Along the way, WBCN both pioneered and defined progressive rock radio, the dominant format for a generation of listeners. Brilliantly told by Carter Alan—and featuring the voices of station insiders and the artists they loved—Radio Free Boston is the story of a city; of artistic freedom, of music and politics and identity; and of the cultural, technological, and financial forces that killed rock radio.

352 pages | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

Sport and Recreation

View all books from University Press of New England

Table of Contents

Foreword by Steven Tyler • Preface • Thanks • The American Revolution • A Radio Commune • I Read the News Today • Movin’ on Up • Camelot • The Battle Joined • Power to the People • “The Reallllll WBCN, Boston!” • I (Don’t) Want My MTV • Number 1 Rock ’n’ Roll Connection • Camelot Redux • From Boylston Street to Wall Street • Nelson, Howard, and “The Love Shack” • Any Given Sunday, Any Given Weekday • A Bad-Boy Business • Shine on You Crazy Diamond •Afterword • Bibliography • Index

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press