I was a kid listening to KPUG in Bellingham when I first heard “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” by Cher. “Bang Bang” was Cher’s second solo single from her second album. It was written by her then-husband Sonny Bono. It climbed to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for one week (April 22, 1966). The record became Cher’s first million-seller as a solo artist.
Some of the mid-sixties (1965-’67) KPUG jocks I best remember are Harvey Brown, Gary Shannon, Kirk Wilde, Norm Gregory, Steve West and the longtime program director, Bob O’Neil.
Brown (as Charlie Brown), West, Gregory, and Shannon all ended up in Seattle and over their careers were popular at assorted leading Seattle radio stations: KJR-AM & FM, KISW, KUBE, KXRX, KZOK, KOMO and others. Wilde moved to Seattle, worked at KOL and KSND, and then it was off to “Soul Radio” KDKO in Denver. O’Neil branched off into broadcast equipment sales, including a stint with ITC, a manufacturer of broadcast cart machines and tape decks. He founded a tech company that was later acquired by 3M.
This “Found Performance” by Cher was a tough one. Online, there are no full performances of Cher’s original version of “Bang Bang.” There are videos of her Vegas style splashy rock version from 1987. But the picture is bleak for her 1966 hit, which was more “gypsy-Italian” styling than rock. But, in looking through what was available, in 1968 she performed a duet of “Bang Bang” with Glen Campbell on his TV show. I have edited that performance, put in a backing track of the original 45 RPM, synced the lips and and filled any spaces with suitable clips from her official 1969 “Bang Bang” music video that promoted the movie that flopped called “Chastity.”
I think this video turned out pretty well, even if I do say so myself. It is all Cher, and Cher all the time. If a young Cher, in a brief nude scene, offends you then you better pass on watching it. To commemorate my years of listening to KPUG, and all the music it introduced me to, a vintage KPUG jingle from the mid-’60s is included here. If you were tuning the radio dial in spring of 1966, it might have sounded something like the soundtrack to this video.