On Saturday night, March 1, 2014, author Michael Rosenbloom gave a Power Point presentation in front of about 80 people at Congregation Ohav Shalom in Merrick, Long Island. Michael was the opening act for “Northern Lights” a rock band which entertained the crowd for several hours following Mike’s presentation. Mike made sure to remind the band and the crowd that Jimi Hendrix once opened for The Monkees in July of 1967 and so Mike’s position on the bill was not a reliable indicator of the future. Speaking of Jimi Hendrix, Northern Lights played an outstanding rendition of Hendrix’s “Stoned Free.”
The Power Point presentation consisted of about 60 slides discussing The Who’s early career, Union Catholic High School’s foray into the rock concert business in 1967 and the writing of “When Stars Were in Reach,” a book essentially about the intersection of The Who and Union Catholic High School in November 1967. Some slides included music and some video with music.
Following the presentation, Mike sold and signed copies of “When Stars Were in Reach.” From the smiles of the attendees, it appears that they were pleasantly surprised to learn about this unusual Catholic high school in Scotch Plains, New Jersey and how a group of resolute high school seniors convinced their administration to book an on-the-rise British rock group named The Who a full year and a half before they hit it big in the U.S.
By Nancy Mackow on November 19, 2013
If you are a Who fan and are looking for a book to read about the Who, you know that there are hundreds of books already written about them. How could there be anything new to write? But in When Stars Were in Reach – The Who at Union Catholic High School – November 29, 1967, author Michael Rosenbloom has managed to write a new and unique book about an intriguing and true story of how the students of a small Catholic high school in New Jersey convinced their school’s administration to allow them to book a concert by one of the most high energy bands in rock history, the Who, to perform in their high school gym.
Rosenbloom, who neither attended the school nor the 1967 concert, did extensive research to unravel the tale, painstakingly locating and interviewing those students, faculty, and the promoter who were there 46 years ago. Rosenbloom carefully weighed the 40+ year old and sometimes conflicting memories and weaved them into an interesting and insightful story. It is a fun little-train-that-could tale born out of a mixture of youthful why-not naïveté and emerging adult perseverance. This book is an entertaining read. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in one sitting. It has great photos of the actual concert with basketball net and all.
On October 16, 2013, Michael Rosenbloom was a guest on the American Hit Radio radio show, which aired on WHPC, 90.3 at 5PM. WHPC is the voice of Nassau Community College on Long Island. Please refer to the post below for a description of the show’s format. The show is hosted by Tom Ryan and Heidi Morales-Ryan, his wife. Michael discusses in depth his book “When Stars Were in Reach.” Click here to listen to the one hour show. You will not be disappointed.
We are pleased to announce that on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 5:00 P.M., Michael Rosenbloom will be a guest on Tom Ryan’s radio show on WHPC, 90.3 FM, Nassau Community College’s radio station. (For a live feed click here and then click on “Listen Live, Now!”)
Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 P.M. Tom hosts one of the best shows on terrestrial radio “American Hit Radio.” The Wednesday show is spent revisiting the music (sometimes popular, other times obscure) that was released and/or in the charts that exact month 50, 40, 30 or 20 years before. It’s not what you think though. It’s not a typical oldies show. It’s the antithesis of a “classic rock” radio program. As both musician and musicologist, Tom provides insightful analysis placing the music in the context of rock’s arc over the second half of the twentieth century until this very day. On Fridays Tom explores specific artists and phenomena in depth, sometimes over multiple weeks and even months, that impacted the development of popular recorded music.
On Wednesday October 16, 2013, American Hit Radio will be focusing on October 1973 which is when The Who’s epic LP Quadrophenia was released. Michael Rosenbloom will be a guest on the show discussing Quadrophenia and his book “When Stars Were in Reach,” the title of which is a quote from a song on that very album.
At the risk of being seen as biased I must recommend this little gem to any serious Who fans. I have been a devotee of The Who for just about all of my conscious life, you know, from the age of 12 or thereabout. I confess I have known the author for a very long time; that is not the point. What makes this short book so valuable is that it tells the tale of how a few schoolkids understood that their enthusiasm mattered enough to create! Anyone expecting another hackwork with a load of photo’s they have seen before or some rehashed history can be reassured. This is a unique tale from a time before the corporate colonization of popular culture, when there was an ‘underground’, when being a fan counted for something more than being an email address on a marketeers sucker list. Interspersed are personal accounts of how this all ended with the (post Woodstock,) ‘ Stadium Rock’ sham that robbed the music-not only The Who’s- of much of it’s validity. As is pointed out, maybe obliquely, here is a story of the excitement of discovery.
For the price of a keyfob or some other piece of junk from THEWHOSTORE, or whatever it calls itself why not learn something?
On Sunday, April 28, 2013 a book-signing was held at Union Catholic High School. The school, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary Weekend, was gracious enough to invite Michael Rosenbloom, author of “When Stars Were in Reach” to participate in the celebration and sign books. Below are two pictures from the book-signing, the photo at left with Sister Percylee Hart, Principal of Union Catholic (notice she is holding “When Stars Were in Reach”) and author Michael Rosenbloom. The photo on the right is at “the scene of the crime,” the very same gymnasium where The Who played on November 29, 1967. Keith Moon was situated under the same basketball hoop near where Michael Rosenbloom, Robert Wyrough, Nancy Scalera Mackow and Angelo Del Monte are standing. Robert, Nancy and Angelo were contributors of memories and memorabilia for the book and were attendees at the concert when we all were a bit younger. The author was thrilled to meet Robert, Nancy and Angelo in person for the first time and to cement friendships that had begun on the telephone and on e-mail. Nancy and Angelo came from out of town to attend the celebrations and book-signing.
Sister Percylee Hart, Principal of Union Catholic High School and Author Michael Rosenbloom
left to right: Michael Rosenbloom, Robert Wyrough, Nancy Scalera Mackow and Angelo Del Monte
The very first step author Michael Rosenbloom took when embarking on the research for what would eventually become the book “When Stars Were in Reach” (WSWIR) was an internet search for The Who concert at Union Catholic High School. The only mention of the show was on the web site Who Tabs. Descriptions of the guitar Pete Townshend played and the amps used at Union Catholic High School were detailed on the site. The rest is history as the saying goes. As a result, Who Tabs is mentioned generously in the bibliography of WSWIR. Who Tabs is yet another of the incredible web sites lovingly dedicated to The Who and their music, but with a twist. The equipment section of the website presents a detailed history of the “instruments and gear the group employed (and destroyed) throughout their career.” Now, Who Tabs has reciprocated and has announced the publication of WSWIR on their website. Check out the announcement on Who Tabs!
Union Catholic High School is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The 50th anniversary year festivities culminate in a series of events beginning on Friday, April 26th and continuing through Monday, April 29th. Included in these events is a book-signing by Michael Rosenbloom, author of “When Stars Were in Reach” at a brunch that will be held at the school at noon on Sunday, April 28th. Read about U.C.’s “Golden Anniversary Weekend,” including the book signing, at NJ.com.
Musictomes.com is a website “dedicated to spreading the word on books about music and musicians, giving a forum to authors to talk about their work, and to promote the art of music journalism.” On Friday, April 12, 2013 musictomes.com posted an in-depth interview with Michael Rosenbloom about his book “When Stars Were in Reach – The Who at Union Catholic High School, November 29, 1967.” Read it here.
“When Stars Were in Reach” is now listed on thewho.info website, in the books section. This is a website which purports to be “The World’s Largest Collection of The Who Records and CDs.” Also known as WhiteFang’s Who site, it has an impressive display of posters, tour programs, discography, videos, books and magazines in over 500 web pages. Yes, it’s at the bottom of the page. But the book list is in chronological order and WSWIR was the very last book published about The Who.