John Rydgren

The legacy of John Rydgren (deceased) is one of the most enigmatic in radio-jock if not also record history. A lutheran evangelist, Rydgren started a hit program called "Silhouettes," in which he rapped over such appealing tunes as "Music to Watch Girls By," "Groovin'," "Rinky Dink," the Electric Prunes' "Kyrie Eleison," and occasionally less obvious pieces such as "Dark Side of the Flower" (with sitar). As with Ken Nordine, his thoughts were highly original, ranging from quirky perceptions of the mundane to deep acid-head philosophy. Sexy and startling, "Silhouettes" were as weird as anything heard from a pulpit or transistor radio.

Pastor John pitched his rants to the Hippie Freaks (many of whom would become Jesus Freaks) entirely on the hippies' own terms. Mentioned frequently are drugs (LSD, mushrooms, pot), mini-skirts, and other signifiers of the era. References to God but usually these are plentiful but philosphical and intriguing. Such evangelical pills were supposed to slip subtley through the sugar coating of everyone's favorite psychedelic '60s hits. It worked.

Distributed free to radio stations, Silhouette Segments never was commercially released because of licensing difficulties. It remains an obscure and treasured memento of the radio program. The LP was given heavy airplay in Vietnam, however. Questioning life's meta assumptions within a reassuring pop context, it was a natural for soldiers. And for everyone its juxtaposition of the antipodies of hip and square continue to blow minds.

Buying: Original Rydgren albums, all promo-only, are among the rarest records.

John Rydgren LPs

Contata for New Life
9Silhouette Segments (2-LP)
Worlds of Youth (Concordia)

Hyp Records is a 3-part guide:

Shop Hip Wax

Some items above may be available at
Hip Wax

Hyp Records Guide © 1996 Hip Wax