The Friday 5×2: WCFL, 12/1/73

We did WLS last week, so let’s look at their rivals down Wacker Drive in Marina City. WCFL didn’t start in the rock ‘n’ roll business until late 1965 and got out of it in March 1976, when they went to “beautiful music”. Currently they’re sports-talk station WMVP. The competition between the two stations was pretty fierce during my later grammar school and high school days, but the Chicago Federation of Labor (the CFL in WCFL) had had enough of the Top 40 format and took the station as far from it as they could. Anyway, here’s the “Super CFL Survey” from December 1, 1973.

  1. The DeFranco Family, “Heartbeat, It’s A Love Beat” Because there was always room for one more “family” band. The focus was all on 14-year-old Tony, who was a cover boy for Tiger Beat and other tweenybopper magazines. This was their only national hit.
  2. Billy Preston, “Space Race” The followup to “Will It Go Round In Circles” had Billy reprising his 1971 hit “Outa-Space.” This reached #4 nationally.
  3. Gladys Knight & The Pips, “Midnight Train To Georgia” This had topped WCFL’s survey the week before, so this was a good-sized dropoff. Nevertheless, this was still gold for Gladys & The Pips.
  4. Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” Making almost as impressive a climb as Gladys and the boys had a drop was the title track from Sir Elton’s 1973 megahit album, which had been at #12 the week prior.
  5. Gilbert O’Sullivan, “Ooh Baby” This is a rockin’ little number that I don’t recall ever hearing. I probably did and promptly forgot it.
  6. Chicago, “Just You ‘n’ Me” From Chicago VI, this followup to “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” did much better nationally than its predecessor, even with the somewhat free-form soprano sax solo by Walter Parazaider toward the end. Maybe because of it.
  7. Carpenters, “Top Of The World” As I think I said back when I profiled Karen and Richard for my Two For Tuesday Series “High School Days,” just about anything they did in the early ’70’s was magic. This was their first national #1 since “Close To You.”
  8. Todd Rundgren, “Hello It’s Me” From his 1972 album Something/Anything?, this is a remake of a song Todd did back in his Nazz days that was almost a hit. This reached #5 nationwide.
  9. Jim Croce, “I Got A Name” Title track from his fifth and final studio album (released the day after his death), this went to #10 nationally.
  10. Ringo Starr, “Photograph” Ringo and his Beatle buddy George Harrison wrote this for his 1973 self-titled album. It rose to #1 on the Hot 100 but only to #8 in the UK.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for November 30, 2018.

13 thoughts on “The Friday 5×2: WCFL, 12/1/73

  1. Oh God….I remember that kid and the family and hated that kid who is probably as old as me if not older now. Love Chicago! The Carpenters are so good and I still am sad over Karen’s death, the same with Jim Croce.

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    1. Tony was born on August 31, 1959, so he is older than you are. They’re from Port Colborne, Ontario, so would imagine they were played a lot in Canada.

      Karen Carpenter was a beautiful young woman, even when she was starving herself to death, her voice was exquisite, and she was a better-than-aveerage drummer. Whoever convinced her that she was fat and ugly should be beaten.

      It’s hard when anyone dies, but when someone dies due to an accident, it leaves you with an unsettled, empty feeling. Jim Croce is a perfect example, and there are others (Stevie Ray Vaughan, several members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, practically the entire band Chase, etc.) who were equally tragic.

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  2. Unbelievable list of timeless music – you could pull a Best of the 70s list and include 7 of those tunes: Gladys, Elton, Chicago, Carpenters, Todd, Jim and yes, even Ringo. I’ve got all of those on either vinyl or CD or both and know every word, every note, every solo. So great. Thanks for the memories!

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    1. Those wre certainly the artists or bands that were on the charts most of the time. I did a series a while back that focused on the music from my high school years, 1970-1974. There was a lot of great music created in that period.

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  3. I enjoyed this era of music and it’s sad we lost Karen Carpenter, Jim Croce, and George Harrison. These songs didn’t seem to follow a pattern – they were unique and enjoyable.

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    1. Right: there was a lot of variety between the songs. Bands at the time were experimenting with new sounds (and more than a few mind-altering drugs). If you were to release any of the songs today, I doubt seriously that they would even chart…

      Billy Preston was another that has joined the Eternal Jam Session. It’s sad we lose them, but they left quite a sonic legacy.

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