The Friday 5×2: KNUZ (1230 AM Houston, TX) On This Day In 1957

KNUZ sounds like it should be an all-news station, but it was a Top 40 station in the ’50’s and ’60s and into the ’70’s, when it lost the Top 40 market to KILT. It was a country station from the ’70’s until 1989, when it changed its callsign to KQUE (to match with its sister FM station at 102.9) and became a news-talk station. It’s been through multiple changes since then and is now KCOH, which had broadcasted at 1430 AM, returning to that station’s Urban format. Anyway, KNUZ was doing Top 40 in 1957, so let’s see what they were playing 62 years ago/

  1. Nat King Cole, “Send For Me” Nat doing something a little more Rock & Roll landed him a #6 on the Pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart.
  2. The Coasters, “Searchin'” Another one that eventually made it to #1 on the R&B chart, it climbed as high as #3 on the Billboard Pop Chart and #7 on the Cash Box chart.
  3. Little Richard, “Jenny Jenny” This was Richard’s first Top 10 hit on the Pop chart (it went to #10) and climbed to #2 on the R&B chart, as well as reaching #11 on the UK chart.
  4. Pat Boone, “Love Letters In The Sand” Mr. White Bucks was always on the charts in the ’50’s and early ’60’s, and usually at or close to the top. This reached #1 in the US and #12 in the UK, as well as #12 on the R&B chart.
  5. The Del Vikings, “Whispering Bells” Doo-wop was still as popular as ever, and the Del Vikings reached #9 on the Pop chart and #3 on the R&B chart with this one. It was their last Top 10 single.
  6. Everly Brothers, “Bye Bye Love” Another from Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, it went to #2 in the US and Canada, as well as #1 on the Country chart and #5 on the R&B chart. Not bad for your first chart experience.
  7. Ricky Nelson, “A Teenager’s Romance” Ricky’s first single was a top 10 hit, reaching #8 according to both Billboard and Cash Box. The weekly exposure on his parents’ TV show didn’t hurt…
  8. Elvis Presley, “Teddy Bear” Elvis was at the stage of his career where everything he touched turned to gold. This was a #1 on the Billboard and Cash Box Pop and Country charts and also a #1 on the R&B chart and the Canadian Pop chart.
  9. Jimmy Dorsey, “So Rare” One of Jimmy’s last major recordings, as he died the week before. It reached #2 on the Pop chart.
  10. Larry Williams, “Short Fat Fannie” Larry was a singer and songwriter, and this was his first and only Top 10 hit, reaching #5 on the Pop chart andf #1 on the R&B chart.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for June 21, 2019.

The Friday 5×2 (-1): CFNY (102.1 Toronto), 6/12/86

CFNY, according to Wikipedia, “rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s due to its freestyle DJing format and unique (at that point) choice to play alternative music.” They had a pretty rough history starting in the ’90’s, when the station changed hands a couple of times, eventually becoming “102.1 The Edge,” playing Top 40 music. Here is their Top 9 (that’s all ARSA has listed) for June 12, 1986.

  1. David Bowie, “Underground” Bowie was interested in scoring a children’s movie, and his chance came with the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth (from which “Underground” was taken), in which he starred with Jennifer Connelly. It was a Top 10 hit in Ireland and The Netherlands, and a Top 20 hit in most of the rest of the world.
  2. a-ha, “Hunting High And Low” Title track from their 1985 album, it reached #10 in their native Norway, #4 in France and IKreland, #9 in The Netherlands, and #5 in the UK. They’ve recorded extensively for the last 30 years, and still can’t get another hit in the US…
  3. Matt Bianco, “Dancing In The Street” You might remember me telling you at some point that one of the original members of Matt Bianco was Barbara Trzetrzelewska, better known (thank heaven) by her mononym Basia. She left Matt Bianco after their first album and went on to solo fame and fortune, so this is without her. You’ll notice almost immediately that this isn’t a cover of Martha and the Vandellas…
  4. Eurythmics, “When Tomorrow Comes” This song wasn’t released in North America as a single, but as CFNY wasn’t restricted to playing only singles, it made their survey. It only reached #30 in the UK, but was a Top 10 it in Australia, Norway and Sweden.
  5. Redskins, “It Can Be Done” Redskins were a British band known for their left-wing politics and skinhead appearance. As a single, it reached #76 in the UK.
  6. Win, “Shampoo Tears” Win were a Scottish pop band known for their song “You’ve Got The Power,” which was used in an ad campaign for the brewery McEwan’s. This song was the follow-up single to “Power.”
  7. Billy Newton-Davis, “Right Beside You” As an alternative station, CFNY placed no time restrictions on song, which is how this could make their list. Billy is originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, and moved to Canada in 1980. This is from his debut album, 1986’s Love Is A Contact Sport, which won the Juno Award for Best R&B/Soul album.
  8. Sandie Shaw, “Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken” Sandie was popular in the UK in the ’60’s, having hits with “(There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me” (1964), “Long Live Love” (1965), and “Puppet On A String” (1967), with which she won the Eurovision Song Contest. After spending the ’70’s without a hit, she returned in 1982 with a cover of “Anyone Who Had A Heart.” “Heartbroken” reached #68 in the UK.
  9. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, “Going Underground” From their 1986 album Criminal Tango, this was released as a single but didn’t make the official chart, but clearly the CFNY listeners thought it was OK.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 (minus one) for June 14, 2019.

The Friday 5×2: KCPX, 6/6/69

We dropped in on KCPX out of Salt Lake City earlier this year when we played their Top 10 from March 1968. Let’s take another trip out there and see what was going on 15 months later, in June 1969.

  1. Elvis Presley, “In The Ghetto” Elvis’s songs in the late 1960’s, which had a relevance and a social conscience, are among The King’s best work.
  2. Willie and The Red Rubber Band, “Chicky Chicky Boom Boom” I can’t find much of anything on these guys, which makes me think they were a local favorite. Not a bad song, actually.
  3. 1910 Fruitgum Company, “Special Delivery” This follow-up to “Indian Giver” didn’t do as well, making it only to #38 nationally. I can’t recall that it was ever played on either WLS or WCFL in Chicago, and it didn’t sound familiar when I played it today.
  4. Three Dog Night, “One” Their first Top 10 hit, from their eponymous 1968 release. It reached #5 nationally.
  5. Steve Greenberg, “Big Bruce” I’m not sure this parody of “Big John” would be as well received as it was when released. Another one that I don’t recall hearing.
  6. The Guess Who, “These Eyes” Their first Top 10 hit in the US (#7) and their native Canada (#6), this was the only single off of 1968’s Wheatfield Soul.
  7. Spiral Starecase, “More Today Than Yesterday” I think I’d put this song in the category of all-time favorites. It just sounds good and the lyrics are timeless.
  8. The Beatles, “Get Back” I had wanted to say that this was their last big hit in the US, then remembered that had several more from the Let It Be album. Nevertheless, this was popular at a time when rumors of a breakup were starting to fly.
  9. Paul Revere & The Raiders, “Let Me” A question in the comments was “Why are Paul Revere and The Raiders not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?” I wish someone would explain it to me…
  10. Neon Philharmonic, “Morning Girl” I never knew this: Neon Philharmonic were backed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra on this record. It only reached #15 nationally, which surprises me.

And that’s the Friday 5×2 for June 7, 2019.

The Friday 5×2: WKTI, Milwaukee, WI, 5/29/87

Let’s travel about 90 miles out of Chicago to Milwaukee, home of radio station WKTI at 94.5 FM, now an ESPN affiliate. In May 1987 they were still playing Top 40 music, so let’s see what was on their Top 10 the last week of May.

  1. Breakfast Club, “Right On Track” A New Wave band out of New York City that at one time featured Madonna on drums, Breakfast Club had their greatest chart success with this song, which peaked at #7 on the Hot 100.
  2. Al Jarreau, “Moonlighting” Theme song for the wildly popular TV show starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis, this remains a favorite on Smooth Jazz radio. The song topped the Adult Contemporary chart, although it only reached #23 on the Hot 100 and #32 on the R&B chart. The late Al Jarreau was a native of Milwaukee.
  3. Cutting Crew, “(I Just) Died In Your Arms” Cutting Crew’s debut single topped the chart in the US and Canada, and was their best-performing song chart-wise.
  4. Genesis, “In Too Deep” Genesis moved from progressive and folk-rock to pop all within about ten years, managing to become both an artistic and a commercial success. “In Too Deep” is from their 1986 album Invisible Touch and it reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
  5. Jody Watley, “Looking For A New Love” Jody Watley won the 1987 Grammy for Best New Artist. I’m not sure if it was because of this video, but it would certainly have influenced me. This made it to #2 on the Hot 100 while topping the R&B and Dance charts.
  6. Eddie Money, “Endless Nights” From his 1986 album Can’t Hold Back, this only made it to #21 on the Hot 100 but #10 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
  7. Chicago, “If She Would Have Been Faithful…” From Chicago 18, which was the first album without bassist and vocalist Peter Cetera. Cetera’s replacement, Jason Scheff, sang this along with Bill Champlin. It reached the Top 10 on the AC chart and #19 on the Hot 100.
  8. Huey Lewis & The News, “I Know What I Like” Their second single off of 1986’s Fore!, it reached #9 on the Hot 100.
  9. Atlantic Starr, “Always” From their album All In The Name of Love, this was the band’s first and only #1 hit, reaching that position on the R&B, Adult Contemporary, and Hot 100 as well as #1 in Canada and #3 in the UK.
  10. Level 42, “Lessons In Love” The first single from 1987’s Running In The Family, this was Level 42’s most popular single in the UK (from whence they came), reaching #3 there and #12 in the US.

And that’s the Friday 5×2 for May 31, 2019.

The Friday 5×2: Radio Veronica, 5/23/70

Let’s go back to the Netherlands and Radio Veronica, broadcasting from a ship near Hilversum. Here’s their Top 10 for this week in 1970. I like this because there are a lot of songs I’ve never heard before today, which means they’ll probably be new to you too.

  1. Soulful Dynamics, “Mademoiselle Ninette” Soulful Dynamics was a septet that was formed in 1965 in Liberia and moved to Hamburg in 1969. This is the song they’re best known for.
  2. Blue Mink, “Good Morning Freedom” A sextet from England, Blue Mink had six Top 20 hit records in the UK between 1969 and 1974. One song, “Our World,” reached #64 on the Hot 100 and got some airplay in the US in 1971.
  3. The Shoes, “Osaka” The Shoes were a Dutch “Nederbeat” band; here in the US we call them “garage rock.” They started in 1963 as The White Shoes, and are still performing, 56 years later.
  4. Norman Greenbaum, “Spirit In The Sky” Finally, a song you might have heard before. This was a huge hit in the US, where it reached #3 nationally and occupied the #1 spot in Chicago on WCFL on March 16 and at WLS on March 23. Not bad for a good Jewish boy…
  5. Earth and Fire, “Ruby Is The One” Earth and Fire was a Dutch progressive and symphonic rock band that was fronted by Christina Henriette “Jerney” Kaagman, who later headed the Dutch musician’s union BV Pop (so saith Wikipedia).
  6. Frijid Pink, “House of the Rising Sun” A psychedelic rock band from Detroit, this was the third single issued by the band in 1969, and as they say, third time’s a charm. It reached the Top 10 in the US, #4 in the UK, and #3 in Canada. The band continues to perform and record, albeit with non of its original members.
  7. Steve Rowland and The Family Dogg, “Sympathy” The Family Dogg was a British vocal group that included Albert “It Never Rains in Southern California” Hammond.
  8. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Up Around The Bend” Was a double-sided single in the US with “Run Through The Jungle,” and it reached #4 here.
  9. Simon and Garfunkel, “Cecilia” I remember that most of my friends and I despised this song in eighth grade, and today, almost 50 years later, I’m still not especially fond of it. Nevertheless, it reached #4 in the US and topped the chart in The Netherlands.
  10. Simon and Garfunkel, “El Condor Pasa” I had to look twice at the chart to see if this was a double-sided hit for S&G with ‘Cecilia,” but no, they were two separate records. This only reached #18 in the US but, again, topped the chart in The Netherlands.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for May 24, 2019.