#atozchallenge Top Ten: KFI (640 AM Los Angeles, CA), 7/6/81

KFI in Los Angeles went on the air in 1922 and over the course of its life has increased its power to 50,000 watts. Like most AM stations, they switched to a news-talk format in the ’80’s as most listeners switched to FM for music. In 1981, they were broadcasting a hybrid format with comedian hosts (Hudson and Landry, Charlie Brill and Mitzy McCall from Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Gary Owens etc.) introducing adult contemporary music. Here’s their Top Ten from July 6, 1981.

  1. Air Supply, “The One That You Love”: Title track from Air Supply’s (Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock) sixth studio album. It topped the Hot 100 in late July for one week, their only #1 hit so far.
  2. Santana, “Winning”: A cover of Russ Ballard’s 1976 song, it appeared on Santana’s 1981 album Zebop!. It reached #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart and #17 on the Hot 100.
  3. Joey Scarbury, “Believe It Or Not”: Subtitled “Theme from The Greatest American Hero,” it was written by Mike Post with lyrics by Stephen Geyer. The show only lasted a couple of seasons, but you still hear this on soft rock stations. It peaked at #2 behind Lionel Richie and Diana Ross with their “Endless Love,” reached the top position on the Cash Box survey, and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
  4. Kim Carnes, “Bette Davis Eyes”: Seems I’ve played this one a lot lately… anyway, it was written by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon, who did the original recording. Kim Carnes, who sounds a lot like Jackie, had a #1 hit with this, spending five weeks at the top, interrupted for just one week by our next song…
  5. Stars On 45, “Stars On 45 Medley”: Stars on 45 were a group of Dutch studio musicians who got together under the direction of Jaap Eggermont and jammed on primarily Beatles songs for their first medley (which inexplicably started with The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar”), which made it to #1 for a week, sandwiched between Kim Carnes and “Bette Davis Eyes.”
  6. The Oak Ridge Boys, “Elvira”: A huge crossover hit for the Oak Ridge Boys, it reachedc #1 on the Country chart in the US and Canada and #5 on the Hot 100. There’s apprarently no truth to the story that it was dedicated to Cassandra Peterson, a/k/a “Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark,” who was also popular around the same time.
  7. Daryl Hall & John Oates, “You Make My Dreams”: From their ninth studio album, 1980’s Voices. It reached #5 on the Hot 100.
  8. Joe Dolce, “Shaddap You Face”: A novelty song, which are always popular, about a rebellious Italian boy. It did very well in Europe and Australia, where it reached the Top Ten. Didn’t do so well in the US, where it only reached #53, but was played frequently on the Dr. Demento radio show, which was based in Los Angeles, albeit not at KFI.
  9. Kenny Rogers, “I Don’t Need You”: A song written by Rick Christian, who recorded his own version in 1978. It was the lead single from Kenny Rogers’s 1981 album Share Your Love. It reached #1 on the US Hot Country Songs and Adult Contemporary charts, #1 on the Canadian Country chart, #2 on the Canadian Top Singles and Adult Contemporary charts, and #3 on the Hot 100.
  10. George Harrison, “All Those Years Ago”: George had already written the melody with different lyrics for Ringo before John Lennon’s murder in 1980. He wrote new lyrics for it, making it a tribute to John, got Ringo to play drums and Paul (with wife Linda and Denny Laine) to sing backup. It reached #2 behind “Bette Davis Eyes.”

Back with an old favorite for G tomorrow!

28 thoughts on “#atozchallenge Top Ten: KFI (640 AM Los Angeles, CA), 7/6/81

  1. There are a couple I like in this list, but I have to go with Shaddap Your Face (Joe Dolce). I think it resonated in Oz because we find it funny. I remember singing this heaps as a kid, hence making it my pick.


      1. Weird how some songs do well in one country but not another. It’s like ABBA… Australia totally embraced them and ABBA have said how we played a pivotal role in their success.


    1. That Air Supply song is definitely Yacht Rock material, so you know I like it. “Shaddup Youy Face” didn’t play in Chicago, for some reason, or if it did I wasn’t listening to the radio. I know I would remember it if I heard it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bette Davis Eyes and Elvira are in my music library. The others, I need to listen to them again and refresh my memory. The titles don’t seem familiar. (But that’s not unusual… I’m often at a loss when it comes to song titles.)


  3. When I moved to L.A. I listened to KFI most of the time, but that’s after it had already turned to a talk station. Judging by the music playlist, it’s a station I would have also tuned into for the music. They did have some excellent talk shows when I was listening but my tastes turned to other talk stations and now I rarely listen to KFI.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


    1. Out of curiosity, are there many AM stations that are simulcasting on FM? Seems like a lot of the news-talk and sports-talk stations are migrating from the AM band here…


      1. Not really sure about that since I don’t explore the radio dial that much. Mostly I keep my FM tuned into a classical station. I bounce around between a few AM stations but I don’t know that they are simulcasting on FM.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Several good songs I remember on your list. # 8 – we liked the show, and we love the song and have been known to play on repeat more than once. We also have the LP vinyl of Stars on 45. So fun to sing along to all those snippits of great songs. 🙂


    1. That’s a song that’s definitely outlived the show. You still hear it from time to time. It’s funny how Stars on 45 starts out with an Archies song, then the rest is Beatles material. It sold well, that’s for sure.


    1. I knew all of them but “Shaddap You Face,” but had forgotten that they were all out at the same time. After a while they all just sort of run together…


  5. John,

    Mary used The Oak Ridge Boys ‘Elvira’ in song line up yesterday. 🙂 Hall & Oates was a favorite of mine. They had some great songs! You pulled together another fantastic playlist, dear friend. Have a fabulous day!

    Stop by when you get a chance to check out my Looney Tunes Foghorn Leghorn art sketch on Curious as a Cathy. 😉 Happy A2Zing!


  6. That Italian song reminds me of something that would have been on The Pig and Whistle…a show out of Hamilton, Ont. back in the ‘70s. It was nice seeing the pictures of Lennon and Harrison done to this song. I enjoyed this list..some fun songs.


    1. I have a hard time watching that video of “All Those Years Ago.” George did such a beautiful job with the song (I’ve said that it was the kind of song a kid brother would write about his older brother, which was the relationship George had with all of them, really) and seeing the two of them playing together, on and off stage, reminded me that they were basically kids when we first saw them, and they’re gone. I think “wistful” is the word I’m looking for…


  7. So many songs, so many memories. Still love to hear Santana come on the radio today with I’m Winning. And when I read #8’s Believe it or Not, the only thing I could think of was the Greatest American Hero even before I read the description… Thank you for brightening my day with these musical memories.


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