60s Music

Victor Lundberg – “An Open Letter to My Teenage Son”

Victor LundbergWho is Victor Lundberg?

The late Victor Lundberg (1923-1990) was an American radio newscaster and personality, known for his spoken recording “An Open Letter To My Teenage Son” which turned out to be an unlikely Billboard Top 10 hit in 1967. Once an surprise hit in his home state Michigan, the record was released by Liberty Records and it gradually creeped its way into the Hot 100 charts, finally reaching its highest at #10 for about a couple of weeks. Goaded by the unlikely success of “An Open Letter To My Teenage Son,” Liberty released an album full of Lundberg’s mostly conservative introspections, but it failed to enter the charts.

Victor Lundberg was an American radio personality, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 2, 1923. Lundberg was a newscaster/radio announcer at a local radio station in Grand Rapids. He also owned a company whose business was creating radio and television advertisements.

 

 

“An Open Letter to My Teenage Son”

Around that time Lundberg also released a spoken record called “An Open Letter to My Teenage Son” in 1967. Written by Scott Thompson, “An Open Letter to My Teenage Son” was a response to the free-thinking, younger generation’s opposition to America’s wanton move on its war against Vietnam. “An Open Letter to My Teenage Son” was the answer of all the protest records of the mid-1960s. This also concerns on the then-current topics such as long-haired hippies, teenage “dope addicts” and “glue sniffers,” unwavering patriotism and God’s existence.

These things explain why the record is outdated, and has never been played on oldies music-oriented radio stations. But this is interesting nevertheless and memorable. Lundberg’s moral rightness and political conservatism were quite evident on this record. Naturally, the younger generation (even today) bashed the record as pompous and insulting.

This voice-over record was set to the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” In this record, it portrays Lundberg talking to an adolescent son. Which could have happened in real life, as Lundberg actually had a teenage son (believed to be living in their household and/or attending college at that time).

The record concludes with Lundberg leaving a note to his son, in the event that he burns his draft card: “then burn your birth certificate at the same time. From that moment on, I have no son!”

 

“An Open Letter to My Teenage Son’s” performance on the charts

“An Open Letter to My Teenage Son” was released on Liberty Records, and became a surprise regional hit. What’s more surprising is that the record also managed to enter to the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1967. Within three weeks, the record fast climbed from #87 to its peak position at #10, becoming one of the recording history’s most unlikely hits.

After reaching to its peak spot, “An Open Letter to My Teenage Son” was fast dropping from the charts as it had rapidly climbed to it. The single’s run ended in December 1967 (at #22) and after that, it totally disappeared from the Hot 100.

 

Buoyed by the success of “An Open Letter to My Teenage Son,” Liberty decided to release an LP full of Lundberg’s mostly conservative introspections titled An Open Letter which failed to make a dent on the charts. Tracks include “In the Slime in Vietnam,” “Dear Parents,” “My Buddy Carl” (which touches on racial discrimination), and “On Censorship,” aside from the hit single. Lundberg died on February 14, 1990, aged 67.

 

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