Thirty years ago today, WLS celebrated its last day as a Top 40 station, moving to a news-talk format. I wanted to get a survey from that day, but unfortunately they stopped issuing a weekly survey at the end of 1982. I did the next best thing today: here is their survey from August 23, 1980.
- Rocky Burnette, “Tired Of Toein’ The Line” Rocky is the son of Johnny (“You’re Sixteen, You’re Beautiful, and You’re Mine”) Burnette and nephew of Dorsey. This reached #8 on the Hot 100. After a very long hiatus, he’ll have a new album out this fall.
- SOS Band, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” Not exactly disco, but electro-funk, the SOS band is from Atlanta. This reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B and Dance charts. They had several more R&B chart Top 10’s, but didn’t have any further Pop chart success.
- Charlie Daniels Band, “In America” This patriotic number was the lead single off of Full Moon, and reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #13 on the Country chart. It experienced a revival after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
- Christopher Cross, “Sailing” I think anyone who’s read this blog knows how I feel about Christopher Cross in general and this song in particular. It was his second single in 1980 and it reached #1 in both the US and Canada.
- Paul McCartney, “Coming Up” From Sir Paul’s 1980 album McCartney 2, on which he played all the instruments and harmonized with Linda. It reached #1 in the US and was #7 for the year.
- Genesis, “Misunderstanding” Third single from their 1980 album Duke, it reached #1 in Canada and #14 in the US. Phil Collins hadoriginally written this for his first solo album, 1981’s Face Value, but ended up donating it to Genesis.
- Blues Brothers, “Gimme Some Lovin'” Joliet Jake (Chicago’s own John Belushi) and Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) Blues and their all-star band took this to #18 in the US and #22 in Canada. Home field advantage, I guess.
- Rolling Stones, “Emotional Rescue” Title track from the Stones’ 1980 release. It reached #1 in Canada and #3 in the US.
- Billy Joel, “It’s Still Rock ‘n’ Roll To Me” From Billy’s 1980 album Glass Houses, it spent 11 weeks in the Top 10 on the Hot 100, including two weeks at #1. It was the #7 record for the year.
- Olivia Newton-John, “Magic” From the 1980 soundtrack for the film Xanadu, which didn’t do as well as the song did, reaching #1 on the Hot 100 and AC charts in the US and #1 in Canada. Maybe they should have just released the album and forgotten about the mobie. Just my opinion.
And that’s the Friday 5×2 for August 23, 2019.
Springfield, Massachusetts’s WHYN (pronounced “win,” not “whine”) is now a news-talk station, but played Top 40 music from 1960 to 1980, when it switched to a more adult-oriented format. Here’s their Top 10 from this week in 1975.
- Mike Post, “The Rockford Files” Mike is one of the more prolific composers for TV, and has a number of other TV themes to his credit. This is one of his more clever ones.
- James Taylor, “How Sweet It Is” This period in the mid-’70’s might have been James’s best both commercially and artistically, and no doubt being married to Carly Simon didn’t hurt. Carly provides background vocals here.
- Melissa Manchester, “Midnight Blue” I haven’t heard much from Melissa, probably because I don’t hang around adult contemporary stations. This was her first hit, reaching #6 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the AC chart.
- Glen Campbell, “Rhinestone Cowboy” I keep thinking this came out in the ’80’s, for some reason. Glen hadn’t had a hit on the Hot 100 since 1971, although he did well on the Country and AC charts during ths time, and this shot him back into the limelight, a #1 hit in the US and Canada and a Top 10 hit in most of the British Empire. Johnny Carson did a pretty funny parody of it on The Tonight Show as well, which just made it even more popular.
- War, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” Title track from their 1975 album, which reached #6 on the Hot 100 and #9 on the R&B chart. The album was #1 on the R&B chart and #8 on the Hot 200 albums.
- 10cc, “I’m Not In Love” The first of 10cc’s two big hits in the US, this reached #2 here and #1 in the UK.
- Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds, “Fallin’ In Love” Or, “Hamilton, Joe, Frank Reynolds and the entire Eyewitness News Team.” They had a hit in 1971 with “Don’t Pull Your Love.” Tommy Reynolds left the group in late 1972 and was replaced by Alan Dennison, after which Dunhill Records dropped the band. They signed with Playboy Records, on the condition they left the name of the band “Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds.” It proved to be a winner…
- Elton John, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” From Elton’s 1975 album Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy, this reached #4 in the US and #2 in Canada. It was the only single off that album, though Elton’s recordings of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “Philadelphia Freedom” are bonus tracks on the 1995 re-release (since they weren’t on any album up to then).
- Eagles, “One Of These Nights” The title track from their 1975 album and the first single from it, it went to #1 in the US and #13 in Canada and finished the year at #9 in the US. The album was their first #1 album.
- The Bee Gees, “Jive Talkin'” This was the Brothers Gibb’s first #1 hit since “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?” in 1971. Even though this came out when disco was becoming popular (it was included in the 1977 soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever), it really doesn’t sound like a disco song.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for August 16, 2019.
It’s been several years since we visited KHJ in Los Angeles, so let’s see what was on top of their survey in 1971.
- Elvis Presley, “I’m Leavin'” I don’t really remember this one, probably because it only reached #36 nationally and WLS and WCFL probably said “nah…”
- John Denver, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” West Virginia’s license plates carry the motto “Almost Heaven” (or did, anyway) because of this song, which is now one of their anthems. One of Denver’s best-known and loved songs, it only reached #2 nationally. Wonder what kept it it of the top spot?
- Chicago, “Beginnings” A shortened version from their first album which eliminates the horn solos and two-minute Latin percussion jam at the end. I never liked this version because of that, but now I think I understand. Was released originally in 1969, but didn’t chart, and released again in 1971, when it reached #7 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the AC chart.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Sweet Hitch-Hiker” From their oft-maligned 1972 album Mardi Gras, recorded after Tom Fogerty had had enough of his brother. Reached #6 on the Hot 100.
- Gladys Knight & The Pips, “I Don’t Want To Do Wrong” Title track from their 1972 album, it reached #17 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart.
- The Doors, “Riders On The Storm” Another song that was shortened from its album version to fit AM radio; the shortening here was a little more artfully done. Released just before Jim Morrison died in July 1971, it reached #17 nationally.
- Five Man Electrical Band, “Signs” I never understood the appeal of this song, but obviously I’m in the minority, as it reached #3 in the US and #4 in the 5MEB’s native Canada. Long live meaningfulness and relevance!
- Three Dog Night, “Liar” Written by Russ Ballard of Argent, it was 3DN’s first single, but failed to chart. They recorded it again for their album Naturally and released it again in 1971 and it reached #7.
- Marvin Gaye, “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” Marvin’s “poignant anthem of sorrow over the environment” (per Wikipedia), it reached #4 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart.
- Jean Knight, “Mister Big Stuff” Jean’s one and only hit, reaching #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart. Too bad, too.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for August 9, 2019.
I had a choice between 1966 and 1977 for WABC (that’s what came up in my DuckDuckGo search) and chose the latter because I think I had just done 1966 at another radio station. Here’s what they were listening to in New York City on August 2, 1977, and surprisingly, there’s not a lot of disco on it.
- The Floaters, “Float On” This is the short version; there’s also a long version and a longer version. Dig those dance moves! This was their one and only hit, #1 on the R&B chart, #2 on the Hot 100, and #5 in Ireland, sure ‘n’ begorrah!
- Barbra Streisand, “My Heart Belongs To Me” The late ’70’s produced some really depressing music, and this is a prime example. Not that it’s a bad song: Ms. Streisand is in especially good form here. It reached #1 on the AC chart and #4 on the Hot 100, not surprising for a woman who could sing the phone book and have a platinum record.
- Peter McCann, “Do You Wanna Make Love” Peter was a songwriter who hit it big in ’77 when Jennifer Warnes sang his “Right Time Of The Night.” 20th Century Records signed him and he rewarded them with this going to #5. “Right Time of the Night” was on the flip side. This was McCann’s only hit as a recording artist.
- Barry Manilow, “Looks Like We Made It” Bette Midler’s former pianist and music director scored his third of five gold records with this song, released on Mary’s 20th birthday. It rose to #1 on the AC chart and the Hot 100 and was #37 for the year.
- Rita Coolidge, “Higher And Higher” Rita had been a backup singer, and was part of Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour in the late ’60’s, which boosted her as a solo act. Despite recording since 1969, this was her first Top 10, reaching #2 on the Hot 100, #5 on the AC chart, and #1 in Canada, earning her a gold record.
- Alan O’Day, “Undercover Angel” Alan is probably better known for writing “Angie Baby” for Helen Reddy and “Rock & Roll Heaven” for the Righteous Brothers. He wrote and recorded this one and it found its way to #1.
- Shaun Cassidy, “Da Do Ron Ron” David’s younger (and arguably cuter) half-brother, Shaun was on TV as Joe Hardy in The Hardy Boys Mysteries when he recorded this, and it shot to #1 in both the US and Canada.
- The Emotions, “Best Of My Love” These ladies started as gospel singers and later branched into R&B and soul. From Chicago, they had another Chicago band, Earth Wind & Fire, backing them on this, which no doubt helped it reach #1 on the Pop and R&B charts. VH-1 named them on of the 18 most influential girl groups of all time.
- Peter Frampton, “I’m In You” Still basking in the glory from Frampton Comes Alive! the previous year, this is the title track from his next studio album. It rose to #2 in the US and #1 in Canada, and he didn’t even use the talk box…
- Andy Gibb, “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” Andy’s star burned brightly in the late ’70’s until drugs and depression took him down. This was the first of three straight #1 hits in the US for Andy.
And that’s the Friday 5×2 for August 2, 2019.
“What, fifteen?” I hear you say. Let me explain: WGRD was at 1410 on the AM dial, which, if you remember those days, was right near the 14 the dial. So, they called their weekly survey “The Fabulous 14.” So, I decided to push it to 14 songs this week, and when I saw that their #1 was a two-sided hit, I threw in both songs.
Wikipedia tells us that WGRD was a daytime-only station (the call letters mean “Grand Rapids Daytime”) and that it was a popular Top 40 station in the ’50’s and ’60’s, but by 1971 the ratings were slipping, so they moved the Top 40 operation to FM and simulcasted on 1410. They’re now playing alternative music, having switched in 1995.
Thanks to Craig over at PopBopRockTilUDrop for posting the survey.
- The Buckinghams, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” The Buckinghams were, of course, from Chicago, and were Al Kooper’s inspiation for Blood Sweat & Tears (or so they tell me). This hit #5 on both the Billboard and Cash Box surveys. In Grand Rapids, it was down from #10 the previous week.
- Jon & Robin & The In Crowd, “Do It Again A Little Bit Slower” Jon Abdnor, Jr. and Javonne (Robin) Braga had just the one national hit, on Jon’s father’s record label, and had broken up by 1969. #5 the week before on ‘GRD.
- Tommy James & The Shondells, “I Like The Way” This only reached #25 nationally, and didn’t get any airplay in Chicago, so this was new to me. #14 the previous week.
- The Hollies, “Carrie Anne” Their followup to “On A Carousel,” this reached #9 nationally. Inched up from #12.
- Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood, “Jackson” Nancy’s partnership with Lee Hazlewood was brief, but it did produce this song, a cover of Johnny Cash and June Carter’s song. It reached #14 nationally.
- Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, “Out & About” I always think of these two as songwriters primarily, but they did enjoy some chart success later in 1967 with “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight.” This only reached #39 nationally. In Grand Rapids, it stalled at #9.
- Jefferson Airplane, “White Rabbit” I have fond memories of singing along with this at a Blue Man Group concert in Las Vegas. Down from #4 in Grand Rapids, it reached #8 nationally.
- The Beatles, “All You Need Is Love” The Fab Four took to the airwaves internationally to preach this to the world, and it went to #1 internationally. Whether it made a difference still remains to be seen, but the song is a good one.
- Herman’s Hermits, “Don’t Go Out In The Rain, You’re Going To Melt” Another one I don’t remember hearing in Chicago. It failed to reach the Top 10 nationally and was basically the end for Peter Noone and the boys.
- Scott McKenzie, “San Francisco” It was the Summer of Love, after all. Reached #4 nationally, his only hit.
- The Happenings, “My Mammy” The Happenings covered a lot of “music our parents liked,” and this cover of Al Jolson was a followup to their cover of the Gershwins’ “I Got Rhythm.” Did respectably well (#13), though I don’t remember it.
- The Young Rascals, “A Girl Like You” Released two weeks before “Groovin’,” this one didn’t stand much of a chance. Still, it went to #16, and this is the first I’ve heard it.
- The Doors, “Light My Fire” This is the version they did on The Ed Sullivan Show. Ed basically ordered them to come up with another line to replace “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher,” which Jim Morrison ignored, incurring Sullivan’s wrath. When informed that they’d never play The Ed Sullivan Show again, Morrison told them he didn’t care, he’d already done the show.
- The Monkees, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”/”Words” Jumped all the way from #17 and knocked The Doors out of the #1 slot. That’s how popular The Monkees were in 1967.
And that’s the Friday 5×2 for July 26, 2019.