My Place

Saturdays at 8:00 pm

Host Joel Najman weaves musicology, anthropology, sociology, and even psychology among the music of the '50s and '60s, creating a snapshot of life at that time. With My Place, you enjoy the music as well as the story behind the song.

VPR Replay: Listen To My Place Online!

After years of fan requests you can now hear My Place (and All The Traditions) anytime, anywhere as part of the VPR Replay stream. If you miss the show or just want to hear it again, you have two weeks to enjoy the show. Listen with the VPR Replay player or look for Replay on the VPR Audio Player, mobile apps and online streams.

Listen to My Place Online | Learn More About Replay | Frequently Asked Questions | Contact Joel Najman

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Many of the artists who propelled the popular folk music revival of the early 1960s by mid-decade had traded their acoustic guitars for amplified instruments and created a new genre of pop music that DJs labeled "Folk Rock."  This week, My Place program explores the family tree of several of the more prominent 1960s folk rockers, illustrated with memorable recordings by the Rooftop Singers, the Mamas & Papas, the Byrds and others.

Courtesy, Joel Najman

Collaborating with a number of highly talented lyricists over the past half-century, particularly Hal David, Burt Bacharach has generated hundreds of nationally charted hit songs, including dozens of top-ten and number-one smash hits. This week on My Place, host Joel Najman's spotlights several of the female recording artists who have taken Bacharach's compositions to the upper rungs of the national popularity charts. Najman will feature memorable recordings by Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield and Jackie DeShannon and more.


A street tough young man from Brooklyn discovered back in the 1950s that he had a talent for composing song lyrics. Over the next 50 years, tunesmith Paul Vance wrote over 320 songs that were recorded, many by the top hit-making singers of the day.  This week, My Place presents the biggest hits of songwriter and record producer Paul Vance, including his signature song “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka dot Bikini.”

As a studio musician, multi-instrumentalist Larry Knechtel was a member of Los Angeles' elite Wrecking Crew and played on dozens of major hit recordings coming from the West Coast all throughout the the 1960s.  During the 1970s, Larry Knechtel was also a member of the soft-rock supergroup Bread. This week My Place spotlights Larry Knechtel and his five decades as one of popular music's most accomplished musicians. 

Entertainers frequently use professional or stage names that are different than their given birth names and the golden age rock and roll artists are no exception. This week My Place reveals the original given  names of famous rock and roll stars of the 1950s and 1960s. Among the recordings featured are hit singles by singers whose real names are Charles Westover and Philip Blondheim.

Since 1984, the Happy Together Tour has brought together premier recording acts of the 1960s in live performances of some of the most cherished and enduring hit singles of the rock & roll era's first full golden decade. The 2015 Happy Together Tour arrives at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex Junction on Saturday September 5 at 7 p.m.

On rare occasions During the 1960s American rock and roll recording artists recorded versions of their English language hit songs in foreign languages for distribution to countries overseas. These re-recordings were most often done phonetically, oftentimes with amusing results. This week , My Place takes a musical journey to sunny Italy with a collection of familiar American hit singles performed by the original artists in Italian. Gene Pitney, Diana Ross and Lesley Gore are among the artists who also recorded in Italian. 

Though few outside the industry recognize his name, from the 1960s and beyond Jerry Ragovoy  was a major figure within the contemporary music business. He wrote, arranged and produced some of the most enduring soul-style popular recordings of that period.  This week , My Place tells the the fascinating story of of Jerry Ragovoy through a sampling of the marvelous music he helped create. Memorable recordings by Garnet Mimms, Howard Tate and Janis Joplin are among the selections featured.

In the 1950s, Sam Phillips' Sun Records was one of the most influential record companies during the formative years of the rock & roll era. Famous for releasing Elvis Presley's first commercial singles, Sun Records also recorded some of the finest southern rockabilly of the 1950s. This week during My Place,  we'll sample some of those records. We'll hear memorable recordings by Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and more.

During a 50 year career in the contemporary music industry, Shelby Singleton rose from record promoter and talent scout to studio producer and record company president boldly breaking  industry norms almost every step of the way.  With an inherent flair for the unconventional, Shelby Singleton became a legend among his peers.  This week My Place profiles Shelby Singleton with an hour of the memorable hits he helped place on the national charts.