WDGY has been broadcasting from Hudson, Wisconsin into the Minneapolis-St.Paul area since 1956. Since 740 AM is a clear-channel station (CFZM in Toronto has the clear-channel rights), it’s a daytime-only station, though they also broadcast on 92.1 FM W22BS in St. Paul 24 hours a day. They’re currently playing oldies, but in the 1960’s the were second only to KDWB in the Minneapolis market.
Odd for July 1964, The Beatles aren’t in the Top 10, though they make their presence known. You’ll see what I mean shortly.
- Rita Pavone, “Remember Me”: Italian teen star Rita had just one hit in the US, this one, but was very popular in Europe, recording 13 albums for the Italian market.
- Earl-Jean, “I’m Into Something Good”: Earl-Jean was a member of The Cookies, who sang backup on this record. The song was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, who had put together another version of The Cookies after that group became the Raelettes (Ray Charles’s backup singers).
- Gerry & The Pacemakers, “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying”: Another Merseybeat band from Liverpool, managed by Brian Epstein and produced by George Martin. This reached #4 in the US.
- Millie Small, “My Boy Lollipop”: Jamaican singer Millie Small introduced the US audience to ska with this single, which went to #2 on the Hot 100 and was in the Top 10 through most of the rest of the world. She just passed away in May.
- The Searchers, “Don’t Throw Your Love Away”: A cover of The Orlons’ hit, it reached #1 in the UK and #16 in the US. The Searchers were another Merseybeat band….
- Peter & Gordon, “World Without Love”: Peter Asher and his sister Jane were child actors. Jane dated Paul McCartney from 1963 to 1968, and Paul wrote several songs that Peter & Gordon recorded, inclding this one, which reached #1 in the US and the UK.
- Dave Clark 5, “Can’t You See That She’s Mine”: The Tottenham Sound is represented on this survey by this song, which reached #4 in the US.
- Johnny Rivers, “Memphis”: Johnny Rivers was successful early in his career with “Memphis” and “Maybelline,” both Chuck Berry hits. Both songs were ecorded at The Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles. This reached #2 in the US and #1 in Canada.
- Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, “Bad To Me”/”Little Children”: Billy J. Kramer was also from Liverpool, and “Bad To Me” was written by Lennon-McCartney. “Little Children” received more attention, reaching #1 in the UK and #7 in the US, while “Bad To Me” failed to chart.
- The Beach Boys, “I Get Around”/”Don’t Worry Baby”: “I Get Around” was the A side, and as such reached #1 on the US and Canadian charts, while “Don’t Worry Baby” reached #24 in the US.
Next week, Five For Friday will replace The Friday 5×2, while our weekly look at a historic radio station survey moves to Tuesday as Top Ten Tuesday. See you then!
Turning back to WLS in Chicago, here’s their Top 10 on June 28, 1963. A year later, The Beatles would dominate the charts.
- Bill Anderson, “Still”: This was a Top 10 hit on the Hot 100 (#8), Country (#1), and Adult Contemporary (#3) charts. Bill’s still going strong, bless him.
- The Dovells, “You Can’t Sit Down”: It was almost two years from their previous Top 10 single (“Bristol Stomp,” #2 in 1961), but it was worth the wait. This song climbed to #3 on the Hot 100 and #10 on the national R&B chart.
- Roy Orbison, “Falling”: A song that was a Top 10 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart (#7) and through most of the English-speaking world, but only reached #22 on the Hot 100.
- The Chiffons, “One Fine Day”: A song by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, The Chiffons had five songs on the charts in 1963, and this was second only to “He’s So Fine” in popularity, reaching #5 on the Hot 100.
- Ricky Nelson, “Gypsy Woman”: Not the same “Gypsy Woman” that was written by Curtis Mayfield and was a hit for Brian Hyland in 1971. Ricky’s failed to reach the Top 40 either according to Billboard (#62) or Cash Box (#91) and only made it to #27 in Australia, but WLS listeners loved it.
- Jan & Dean, “Surf City”: Their biggest hit, reaching #1 on the Hot 100 and the Cash Box Hot Singles chart. It’s an anthem to the Southern California surf lifestyle.
- Bobby Vinton, “Blue On Blue”: A song by Bacharach and David, which I didn’t realize until today. One of Bobby’s “blue” songs, this reached #3 on both the Hot 100 and the Cash Box Singles chart and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and also did well in New Zealand, where it reached #5.
- The Beach Boys, “Shut Down”: A real quickie (less than two minutes), it was the flip side of “Surfin’ USA” and only reached #23 nationally.
- Ryu Sakamoto, “Ue O Muite Arukou (Sukiyaki)”: It said “Sukiyaki” on the label. The Japanese name means (roughly) “I Look Up As I Walk.” This was an international hit, and reached #1 on the Hot 100, the first record by an Asian singer to top the chart.
- The Essex, “Easier Said Than Done”: Four active-duty Marines (three men and one woman) used this as their demo song, and their record company made it the B side. Despite its status as a B side and that, as Marines, they could’t get away to promote it much, it reached #1 on the Hot 100.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for June 26, 2020.
I saw this survey on the ARSA site and couldn’t decide whether I had already done this, because it felt too familiar, but I’ve searched the archive and I never have. Anyway, WKBW had been on the air less than a year as a Top 40 station, after having started as a religious broadcaster in 1926. They’re now WWKB, an ESPN Radio affiliate. Here’s their survey from 61 years ago today.
- Stonewall Jackson, “Waterloo”: A country singer coming up in the golden age of honky-tonk, Stonewall (his real name) took this to #1 on the Country chart and #4 on the Hot 100.
Connie Francis, “Lipstick On Your Collar”: Connie said that the reason she did so well as a woman singing rock & roll is because she didn’t try to compete with the boys, instead doing songs like this and “Stupid Cupid.” The song was intended as the B side to “Frankie,” but all were so pleased with how it came out that the two songs were promoted as a double A side single. “Lipstick” reached #5, “Frankie” #9, making it her most successful double A side single.
Bobby Darin, “Dream Lover”: When this was released, it became an instant million-seller and rose to #2 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B chart. In the UK, it spent four weeks at #1 over the summer.
Carl Dobkins Jr., “My Heart Is An Open Book”: Released in late 1958, this reached #3 on the Hot 100 and earned a Gold record. It was his best-selling record.
Martin Denny, “Quiet Village”: Martin was called “the father of exotica,” music that simulates the experience of Hawaii and the South Sea islands. The song was written and originally performed by Les Baxter and released in 1957 on Denny’s album Exotica. The album was re-released in 1958 after being re-recorded in stereo. It reached #4 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the R&B chart.
Paul Anka, “Lonely Boy”: This was a #1 hit for Paul that also reached #6 on the R&B chart.
Billy Storm, “I’ve Come Of Age”: Billy Storm was frontman for The Valiants, on whose eponymous first album this can be found. It reached #28 on the Hot 100.
Frankie Avalon, “Bobby Sox To Stockings”: The followup single to his #1 “Venus,” this was another Top 10 hit, reaching #8 on the Hot 100 and #26 on the R&B chart. I like this better than “Venus,” and I love that one…
Fabian, “Tiger”: Frankie’s Philadelphia neighbor and labelmate, this was his most-successful single, reaching #3 on the Hot 100.
Johnny Horton, “Battle Of New Orleans”: Purveyor of fine historical songs, Johnny had a brief career, dying in an auto accident about 18 months later. This was a #1con both the Hot 100 and the Country chart.
And that’s the Friday 5×2 for June 19, 2020.
The station at 103.7 FM in Ithaca is currently WQNY, “Q-Country,” but in 1955 it was WRRA, broadcasting a Top 40 format. Here was their Top 10 on June 11, 1955.
- Georgia Gibbs, “Dance With Me Henry” Wikipedia tells us that Georgia gained fame and notoriety in the mid-’50’s interpreting songs that originated in the black R&B community. “Dance With Me Henry” reached #1 according to Billboard (this was before it became the Hot 100) and #3 according to Cash Box.
Sammy Davis Jr., “Love Me Or Leave Me” Sammy was just starting to make a name for himself on the Top 40, and this song was a follow-up to his first Top 10 hit, “Something’s Gotta Give,” which reached #9. This song reached #12 according to Billboard and #14 according to Cash Box. It did reach #8 in the UK.
Bill Haley & His Comets, “Rock Around The Clock” This was neither the first rock & roll record nor the most successful one, but Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock” has become one of the most identifiable songs of the genre. It reached #1 in the US and UK and also #3 on the R&B chart.
Les Baxter Orchestra, “Unchained Melody” Les Baxter’s recording of “Unchained Melody” predated The Righteous Brothers’ by 10 years. It reached #1 in the US and #10 in the UK.
The Four Aces, “Heart” The Four Aces were a highly-successful vocal quartet in the ’50’s. “Heart” is from the Broadway musical Damn Yankees, which had debuted earlier that year. Their cover reached #13 by Billboard’s reckoning and #12 according to Cash Box.
Sarah Vaughan, “Whatever Lola Wants” The very popular Ms. Vaughan had been recording for almost ten years when she issued this record, and it reached #6 nationally.
Caterina Valente, “The Breeze And I” Born in Paris and still with us, Ms. Valente is fluent in six languages and sings in eleven, plays the guitar and was an actress and dancer who appeeared with many popular singers, including Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Perry Como. Retired since 2003, she lives in Lugano, Switzerland. “The Breeze And I” peaked at #13.
The Sunnysiders, “Hey Mr. Banjo” Freddy Morgan and Jad Paul, former members of Spike Jones’s City Slickers, formed The Sunnysiders with singer Margie Rayburn. This song reached #12, prompting Kapp Records to issue an album. Since the actual Sunnysiders had only recorded three songs, Kapp filled the rest of the album with songs performed by a group called The Happy Harts.
Fess Parker, “Ballad Of Davy Crockett” Fess Parker played Davy Crockett in the Disney miniseries of the same name, and also covered the theme song, taking it to #6 on the Pop chart and #31 for the year.
Perez Prado, “Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White” “The Mambo King” had a #1 hit in 1955 with this song by the French composer Louiguy. It stayed in that spot for ten weeks and earned Prado a gold record.
And that’s the Friday 5×2 for June 12, 2020.
We visited WAEB in Allentown in October of last year when we looked at their Top 10 for the year 1971, and they came up again today, looking at the survey of June 4, 1978. I started a new job around then and don’t remember a lot of these songs. A cursory glance tells me that there wasn’t a lot of disco to worry about here.
- Bonnie Tyler, “It’s A Heartache” The husky-voiced Welsh beauty’s only single to chart in the US, it reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #4 in the UK.
Billy Joel, “Movin’ Out” Initially released in September 1977 with his album The Stranger, it was re-released in March 1978 and reached #17 on the Hot 100.
Barry Manilow, “Even Now” Barry reached #17 on the Hot 100, but topped the Adult Contemporary chart with this ballad.
Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams, “Too Much Too Little Too Late” Johnny hadn’t had a chart-topping single since “Chances Are” in 1957 before this. This collaboration with the lovely Ms. Williams topped the Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, and R&B charts and was certified Gold.
Gerry Rafferty, “Baker Street” From the album City To City, it peaked at #2 in the US behind Andy Gibb’s “Shadow Dancing.” It reached #1 in Canada, Australia and South Africa and #3 in the UK. The iconic saxophone solo was provided by Raphael Ravenscroft, despite what you might have heard.
Chuck Mangione, “Feels So Good” Title track from his 1977 album, it was probably the first anyone had heard of “smooth jazz.” the album version is roughly twice the length of the single. It peaked at #4 on the Hot 100 in June after topping the Easy Listening chart in May. It was nominated for the Grammy for Record of the year, but lost out to Billy Joel’s “Just The Way Yiou Are.”
Carly Simon, “You Belong To Me” Written by Carly and Michael McDonald, The Doobie Brothers (Michael’s band) recorded it on their 1977 album Livin’ On The Fault Line. It was on Carly’s album Boys In The Trees. Her version reached #6 on the Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 18 weeks. She receied a nomination for Best Female Vocalist but lost out to Anne Murray.
Andy Gibb, “Shadow Dancing” Title track from his 1978 album and the only disco song on this week’s chart. It topped the Hot 100 for 7 weeks and was his last #1 in the US.
Paul McCartney & Wings, “With A Little Luck” From their album London Town, this song was the first single from the album and reached #1 in the US and #5 in the UK. It was #18 for 1978.
Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta, “You’re The One That I Want” From the movie (and soundtrack) Grease, the song sung by the two stars of the movie was one of the best-selling singles in history, selling 6 million copies in the US, UK and France and 15 million copies overall. This and “Hopelessly Devoted To You” were two songs written specifically for Olivia in the movie.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for June 5, 2020.