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!