Top Ten Tuesday: WVON (1450 AM, Chicago), 1/17/75

A venerable name in Chicago radio, WVON got its start in 1963 when Leonard and Phil Chess, owners of Chess Records, purchased WHFC and programmed R&B and soul music, gradually adding songs by white artists that were compatible with the format and that would appeal to a wider audience. The call letters stood for "The Voice of the Negro," and it broadcast news about the civil rights movement. Jesse Jackson called WVON the night that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. Don Cornelius was a disk jockey at the station before he started Soul Train. Now broadcasting at 1690 AM, the "Voice of the Nation" has been an African American-oriented talk station since 1986. Here’s their survey from January 17, 1975.

  1. The Temptations, “Happy People”: Co-written by Lionel Richie, this was the first single from their 1974 album A Song For You. This was their first album without producer Norman Whitfield. The song reached #1 on the R&B chart and #40 on the Hot 100.
  2. Syl Johnson, “I Want To Take You Home (To See Mama)”: Blues and R&B singer Syl Johnson took this to #40 on the national R&B chart, but since he was a local artist, he got more airplay and reached #9.
  3. Ohio Players, “Fire”: The Ohio Players were from Dayton and had a few hits in the ’70’s. “Fire” was a #1 hit on the Hot 100 and R&B charts in the US and #5 in Canada.
  4. Love Unlimited, “I Belong To You”: Barry White’s backup singers (Glodean James was Barry’s wife) had several hits in the ’70’s. “I Belong To You” was their most successful release, reaching #1 on the R&B chart.
  5. Bobby “Blue” Bland, “I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)”: Blues singer Bobby “Bluw” Bland got plenty of airtime on WVON, as I revall. This song reached #3 on the R&B chart.
  6. Wales Wallace, “Whatever You Want”: Discogs calls him a “mysterious figure on the Chicago soul scene.” “Whatever You Want” was issued on Innovation II Records, a local label.
  7. Tyrone Davis, “I Can’t Make It Without You”: Best known for his 1970 hit “Turn Back The Hands Of Time,” Tyrone reached #38 on the R&B chart with this song.
  8. Garland Green, “Let The Good Times Roll”: Another local artist, Green reached #65 on the national R&B chart with this record.
  9. Margie Joseph, “Words Are Impossible”: Her follow-up single to her cover of Paul McCartney’s “My Love,” this made it to #27 on the national R&B chart.
  10. Stevie Wonder, “Boogie On, Reggae Woman”: Reached #1 on the national R&B chart and #3 on the Hot 100.

And that’s Top Ten Tuesday for January 18, 2022.

10 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: WVON (1450 AM, Chicago), 1/17/75

    1. This was from one of the Black-oriented stations in town, which was hard to pick up where we lived. Don Cornelius used to be a DJ for them, before he started “Soul Train.” I think that show had a lot of white teens watching…

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  1. John,

    The 70s had some great music. Although I recall many of these funky tunes from the decade, I mostly listened to pop songs, however in retrospect I realize that I actually listened mostly to classic rock n’ roll tunes. I don’t know how it is my memories only focus on one genre for so long. Oh well, great playlist!


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