1. ImageWhich radio shows impactedyou and were a special part of your life? I’ve been enamored with quite a few in my time. One of these influential shows was called Neon Nights.

On a Saturday night in early march of 1981, I scanned the AM radio dial for something interesting. Since I hadn’t yet unpacked my stereo system, having moved the previous weekend, it was my sold source of entertainment.

Then it happened. I heard some great rock music on CBC which I’d never heard before. Many of those bands named by JB Shayne, the host, were unfamiliar to me. Even so, I enjoyed their music. It made a refreshing change from the top forty records played by the local rock stations.

I tuned in the show the next weekend and taped the tunes that I particularly liked. JB Shayne didn’t let me down as he played tunes by Elvis Costello, Girls At Our Best, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Joy Division and many more. During the week, I listened to the tapes that I had made and relived the special feeling I felt. It was like being part of something magnificent and special.

Though some folks claimed that home taping was killing music, I ended up buying many of the albums that JB Shayne played on Neon. One of those was a collaboration between Brian Eno and David Byrne, lead singer of Talking Heads, called My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. I also bought two albums by Rupert Hine. Those LPs were on my turntable quite often back then. Ultrovox’s Rage In Eden album also was a favourite of mine. It was one record which I could leave on the turntable and listen to it all the way through without becoming bored. By 1981, John Foxx had left Ultravox and recorded a few solo LPs. I bought the first two. One of the most evocative twelve inch singles I purchased was O Superman by Laurie Anderson. I wore the record out as I plunged deep into its sonic landscape.

Of course there were some artists whose music didn’t interest or move me. The Fall was one of those. I really couldn’t stand the lead singer’s voice and style. I also bought an album by Robert Fripp called The League of Gentlemen. The melodic “Frippertronics” tunes were nice but there were some spoken pieces that turned me right off. Even so, I still tuned in as many programs as I could.

In 1982, the programmers at the CBC decided to discontinue Neon and replace it with a show called Brave New Waves. I tried to enjoy this new program but the old Neon vibe wasn’t there. Though my favourite show was off the air, I still had the reels of tape that I recorded. Five years ago, I copied them to my computer. I also had made cassette copies in the early nineties of this one-of-a-kind show When I hear these recordings, they still bring back the feelings, images, and ambiance of those late Saturday nights in my basement suite.

Though I didn’t mention Neon in my newly-published How I Was Razed book, I did mention the tension which my love of rock music caused between the elders of the church and myself. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm distribute this testimony of God leading me out of a cultic house church. My previous books are featured on the Bruce Atchison’s books page.


Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.

7 thoughts on “NEON NIGHTS ON CBC.”

  1. That reminds me of staying up late when I was young and listening to college radio stations. I sure did hear a lot of interesting alternative, punk, and metal songs, and new wave too. It brings back great memories as I’m sure it did for you too, Bruce.

  2. I also made some cassettes, but most got lost. I still have a recording of a brief segment that includes JB Shayne supposedly playing a pinball game called Warhead (lead-in to Ryuchi Sakamoto).

    If you could upload your recordings of the show, there are probably a dozen or so people around the world who would be very appreciative.

    1. That’s a good idea. If I find the time, I’ll upload what I taped to some site like SendSpace and let people know about it. JB Shayne was unique in broadcast history and it would be a shame to let the recordings of his show become lost. If you know of a JB Shayne fan club group, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to join it and share those wonderful recordings.

  3. What a pleasure to read about people who shared the experience of the late Saturday night Neon listens. I have fond memories of playing the transistor radio secretly under my pillow so my parents thought I was already asleep. Please upload those tapes to youtube! I’d LOVE to hear those shows again. They were such a hugely important influence on me back in the day! Maybe we can start a JB Shayne appreciation club if there isn’t one already. All the best.

  4. I listened to Neon Nights on CBC – Radio also; it directly influenced my music purchases forever! Should you ever consider sharing your recording(s), well, I’d sure like to hear ’em!

  5. I recorded the last few shows in their entirety on C120 cassettes. I’ve always hoped that the CBC has higher-fidelity copies of these shows buried in their archives, and that one day, like, now, when stuff can be played on demand, Neon Nights would again be heard over the ether or ethernet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s