Checking ARSA for today led me to The Sonic 60 survey for KONO, which was a Top 40 station in the ’60’s and ’70’s and then an oldies station playing the hits of the ’60’s and ’70’s ever since, with a brief stint as a sports-talk station that ended last year. I’ve been to the Alamo City several times in my career, and I’ve always enjoyed it. I was talking with the bartender at a place called The San Antonio City Limits the first time, and she told me “Y’all oughta move down here, we don’t never get no snow.” Of course, two months later, they had their first snowstorm. Always got a kick out of that. Anyway, here’s their Top 10 from November 9, 1962.
- The String-A-Longs, “Matilda” The String-A-Longs were an instrumental band from Plainview, Texas, up in The Panhandle. Their biggest hit (for that matter, thelr only Top 40 hit) was “Wheels” (1961), which reached #3 in 1961. This made it to #133 nationally, but it did well in San Antone because, well, Texas.
- Bunker Hill, “Hide ‘n’ Go Seek (parts 1&2)” David Walker was an R&B, rock and gospel singer who was a member of The Mighty Clouds of Joy when Ray Vernon, brother of Link Wray, asked if he’d record some novelty songs. He took on the pseudonym Bunker Hill and recorded several songs with Link on guitar, including this one, which reached #23 on the R&B chart and #33 on the Hot 100. He was asked to leave the Mighty Clouds when they found out who he was, although he sang with them occasionally in the ’60’s. He then dropped off the face of the Earth, passing away in 1986 in Houston, Texas.
- Esther Phillips, “Release Me” Esther was known as “Little Esther” during the ’50’s when she made a few R&B records with Johnny Otis. By the mid-’50’s she was addicted to heroin, and sang in smaller clubs in the Houston area during her recovery. She was rediscovered by Kenny Rogers in ’62, when she recorded this. It topped the R&B chart and was a Top 10 single on the Hot 100.
- The Four Seasons, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” This was the Jersey boys’ second #1 hit nationwide (their first was “Sherry,” released earlier in the year).
- Roy Orbison, “Leah” Mary and I saw Roy in the late ’80’s at the Chicago Theater, where Roy was on the bill with Johnny Rivers. This was the song he started with, and when he started hitting the high notes, the whole audience rose to its feet, as if his voice was raising them. This was the flip side to “Workin’ For The Man,” which reached #33 nationwide. Maybe this should have been the “A” side.
- Brenda Lee, “All Alone Am I” Little Miss Dynamite hit the Top 10 in both the US (#3) and the UK (#7) with this song, and topped the Easy Listening chart for November and December with it. It was written by Manos Hatzidakis as “Min ton rotas ton ourano (Don’t Ask The Heaven)” and sung by Tzeni Kerezi for the Greek film To nisi ton genneon (The Island of the Brave). It was translated into English by Arthur Altman.
- Nat King Cole, “Ramblin’ Rose” Written by brothers Noel and Joe Sherman (no relation to Richard and Robert Sherman, who wrote many songs for Disney), this was the title track for Nat’s 1962 album. The song reached #2 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts and #1 on the Easy Listening chart, and was nominated for the “Record of the Year” Grammy.
- The Crystals, “He’s A Rebel” A song by Gene Pitney that was recorded by The Blossoms. They recorded it as The Crystals (per Phil Spector), who were on tour at the time. They were quite surprised when they heard on the radio that it was their latest single. Suddenly, they had to add it to their repertoire, sung by Dolores “LaLa” Brooks, who took over the lead singing chores because Barbara Alston, their usual lead singer, couldn’t imitate The Blossoms’ Darlene Love.
- Chubby Checker, “Limbo Rock” Originally recorded as an instrumental by The Chamops (“Tequila”), Chubby recorded this and took it to #2 nationally, kept out of the #1 spot by The Tornados’ “Telstar,” which, if you look at the picture of the survey on ARSA, hadn’t even climbed into their Top 40 but was a “KONO Sure Shot.”
- Elvis Presley, “Return To Sender” The ’60’s belonged to Elvis (and The Beatles), so it’s no surprise that the #1 song would be by Elvis. This was from his 1962 film Girls! Girls! Girls! which costarred Stella Stevens and Laurel Goodwin. It reached #1 on the Cash Box chart and in the UK, but only to #2 on the Hot 100.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for November 9, 2018.