#atozchallenge Top Ten: XEROK (800 AM Ciudad Juarez, Mexico), 8/2/74

Across the US-Mexican border near El Paso, Texas is Ciudad Juarez, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It’s the home of radio station XEROK, "Radio Cañon," "The Cannon." At one time the station had a 150 kW transmitter, a "border blaster" that could be heard throughout the southwestern US. They’ve since lowered the power to 50 kW, the standard for "clear-channel" stations in the US, which is still sufficient to carry the signal all over the Southwest. The Mexican government regulated how much foreign-language programming the station could broadcast, and still does, but in the ’70’s XEROK had the highest Arbitron rating of any station that could be heard in the US. Here’s their Top Ten from August 2, 1974.

#10 – ABBA, "Waterloo": Winner of the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest (the video is of the contest), it was the title track from their 1974 album and the first single from it. It only reached #6 in the US, but was a #1 single in many countries, including the Scandinavian countries, except for Sweden, where the Swedish version reached #2 and the English version #3.

#9 – Rufus and Chaka Khan, "Tell Me Something Good": The Chicago band that had been The American Breed ("Bend Me, Shape Me") became Rufus in the mid-’70’s, featuring the lovely and talented Chaka Khan on lead vocals. "Tell Me Something Good" was written by Stevie Wonder ("a rare instance of an artist like Stevie Wonder giving away a tune that he could have had a big hit with himself," according to one critic) and reached #3 on the Hot 100 and the R&B charts and #1 on the Cash Box Top Singles chart.

#8 – Billy Preston, "Nothing From Nothing": From Billy’s 1975 album The Kids & Me, a song that reached #1 on the Hot 100, the Cash Box Top Singles, and the Record World Singles chart.

#7 – Fancy, "Wild Thing": Fancy was a group of session musicians fronted by former Penthouse Pet Helen Caunt and later by Annie Cavanaugh. Not sure who’s singing here, but regardless, the record peaked at #14 on the Hot 100.

#6 – Chicago, "Call On Me": From Chicago VII, it was the first song written for Chicago by trumpeter Lee Loughnane. It reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #6 on the Hot 100.

#5 – Herb Ohta, "Song For Anna": Ohta-san is from Hawai’i and learned his first three chords on the ukulele from his mother. "Song For Anna" was the title track from his 1973 album, and reached #12 in Australia.

#4 – Paper Lace, "The Night Chicago Died": I always have to point out that "the east side of Chicago," where the narrator’s daddy was a cop, is Lake Michigan (while technically everything east of State Street is the "east side," no one calls it that.) Paper Lace had three hits in their native UK, but only this was a hit here ("Billy, Don’t Be A Hero" would have been had Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods not beaten them to it), reaching #1 on the Hot 100 and earning a Gold record.

#3 – Elton John, "Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me": Recorded for Elton’s 1974 album Caribou, it peaked at #2 in the US and #16 in the UK.

#2 – Donny & Marie Osmond, "I’m Leaving It Up To You": Popularized by the duo Dale & Grace in 1963, Donny & Marie took it to #4 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

#1 – Blue Magic, "Sideshow": A Philadelphia soul quintet (that I seem to have forgotten), Blue Magic took this to #1 on the R&B chart and #6 on the Hot 100, and it was the #19 song for the year.

See you tomorrow with Y!

15 thoughts on “#atozchallenge Top Ten: XEROK (800 AM Ciudad Juarez, Mexico), 8/2/74

  1. Tell Me Something Good has such a great groove about it. I never get tired of this one and King Floyd’s Groove Me.

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  2. That’s cool that you found a station with the letter X!
    I love letter X posts! Always such variety.
    Will you be covering a rock station in my area soon? WZZO?
    It’s hard to believe the blogging challenge is almost over. Then the after survey, reflections, and the road trip sign-up.
    Plus, I’m taking part in the Bout of Books read-a-thon in May. So much excitement!
    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

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    1. I’m staying local for Z. I was happy to find out that Mexican stations all started their call letters with X. There are a few stations in the US whose call letters start with WX or KX and one or two that start with CX in Canada, so I would have used one of them otherwise.

      I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted…

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  3. Sounds like they were playing all the hits of the day. I used to hear radio stations coming from Tijuana when we lived in San Diego. Every once in a while I would enjoy watching television coming from a Mexican station. In fact I think most or all of the transmitters for the U.S. San Diego stations were on a mountain in Tijuana. I recall going to one of them with my parents to appear on the Regis Philbin show when it was just a local late night show.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I’m one of those broadcasting geeks who loves what goes on behind the scenes almost better than what’s happening on the screen. I would have had a great time amid all the transmitters.

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  4. I am so glad to see ABBA up there since i am a freak for ABBA. I still am bugged by the fact that my mom would not allow me to the ABBA Voules-Vous tour (there might be drugs there). My poor mommy 🙂 I enjoyed a nice trip down this memory lane and love The Night Chicago Died which I thought was about the great fire but it seems to be about the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre?? The Wild Thing song is ….not my favourite as the gal sings it according to her last name(minus the A). I really enjoyed “Song For Anna”…so nice to listen to.

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    1. I wasn’t a huge fan of ABBA, but they did some great pop, and winning the Eurovision Song Contest (which is coming up next month) was certainly a pretty impressive feat.

      The older I get, the more I like “The Night Chicago Died.” I think it’s the memories of the times.

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  5. There are some amazing songs in this list, but as a die-hard ABBA fan, it pips them all. Waterloo all the way 🙂

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