I'm always driving my ex-hippie aunts and uncles crazy, asking what was played on those first FM rock broadcasts, around 1967 and 1968. Much was music we now almost never hear. Music that did not become "classic rock," but disappeared as more streamlined AOR formats replaced free form. I found some in the archives. You need a Real Player where indicated
Joe McGasko on Surface Noise played "Endless Tunnel" by Serpent Power following Fat Mattress. Listen to this 1967 acid-washed piece about riding a train to nowhere. An electric banjo is used in a modal, eastern-jazz improvisation.
Serpent Power were on the Vanguard roster with Circus Maximus with Jerry Jeff Walker. "The Wind", played by Irene Trudel, fits perfectly the long, contemplative alternative to top forty singles FM tried to provide. This may sound a bit lounge-tinged now, but in 1967, easy-listening program music still was entrenched in pop culture. "The Wind" made this sound jazzier, deeper and darker for FM..
On Elektra Records, Clear Light released "With All In Mind," which Irwin played. Earth Opera with Peter Rowan recorded "The Red Sox Are Winning" played by Evan "Funk" Davies--notice the "Kill The Hippies!" tag line. David Ackles issued the scathingly anti-Vietnam War "Ballad Of The Ship Of State." Irene played this in Real Audio in her second set on September 8, 2008, following another early FM favorite, Biff Rose
You may think horn rock was an AM construct from hearing David Clayton Thomas era Blood Sweat & Tears. But Ten Wheel Drive was horn rock for progressive radio. Charlie played "Pulse." on Busy Doing Nothing. The Loading Zone's 1968 "No More Tears," played by Meghan on Underwater Theme Park, has a sexy funk-blues crunch that fit the edgy nuance of FM stations new to the air. Even Chicago, when they were the Chicago Transit Authority in 1969, were forward-thinking. Listen to the latin drive they give Steve Winwood's "I'm A Man." which Scott Williams played, adding audio to the track. You'd never guess the band who created this daring acid groove gradually devolved into vapid synth pop.
We hear "Layla" and "Stairway To Heaven" in perpetuity while other great music is buried deep in the remote past .But dozens of such bands are waiting--many with CD reissues--for anyone who wants to research the first days of FM rock radio.