Since everyone is barricaded in their house, how about I spin some platters for ya? We visit the Stone Container Building at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive and the studios of WLS, the station I grew up listening to, to examine their survey from April 2, 1973. This week, we have a lot of soul, a lot of soft rock, and some jazz to share with you.
- Al Green, “Call Me (Come Back Home)” Al Green was successful as a crossover artist in the early- to mid-’70’s. During the summer of ’73 he appeared as a special guest on Chicago’s TV special, thus cementing his status. In the US, this reached #10 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart, earning a Gold record. It only climbed to #60 in Canada.
- Carpenters, “Sing” Joe Raposo wtote this for Sesame Street as its signature song. Karen and Richard and a bunch of kids covered it and it reached #3 on the Hot 100. As I’ve said before, The Carpenters were sure gold in the ’70’s.
- Stylistics, “Break Up To Make Up” The Stylistics were a big crossover success, as were most R&B acts during this period. From their 1972 album Round 2, This reached #5 on the Hot 100 and the R&B chart and #20 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and was certified Gold as well.
- Edward Bear, “Last Song” Edward Bear was a band out of Toronto, not, as everyone thought, the name of a person. (It’s the actual name of Winnie the Pooh, according to Wikipedia.) It came out in late 1972 and reached #1 on both the Canadian Hot Singles chart and Adult Contemporary chart, was also #1 on the American Adult Contemporary chart, and #3 on the Hot 100. And it did earn a Gold record, as you might expect.
- Anne Murray, “Danny’s Song” a beautiful song by Kenny Loggins, who took a leter from his brother and turned it into a hit. Anne, who could sing the obituary column and make it sound beautiful, made it the title track from her 1972 album and took it to #1 on the Canadian Country, Pop, and AC charts, #10 on the US Country chart, #7 on the Hot 100, and #1 on the AC chart.
- Four Tops, “Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I Got” I had forgotten that The Four Tops had done this. It went to #4 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart, #11 in Canada, and was certified Gold.
- Gladys Knight & The Pips, “Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)” Another great song that reached #1 on the R&B chart and #2 on the Hot 100. This was the last single they recorded for Motown Records, moving to Buddah after this.
- O’Jays, “Love Train” A song that everyone desperately needed then (and probably now), they took this to #1 on the Hot 100 and R&B charts, earningthem a Gold record in the US,and #9 in the UK, where it earned a Silver record.
- Roberta Flack, “Killing Me Softly With His Song” Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox wrote this with Lori Lieberman, who had seen Don McLean in concert and was really moved by the experience. It was the title track for Roberta’s 1972 album (as Killing Me Softly), and as with just about every song Roberta did, it reached #1 on the Hot 100, #2 on the R&B and AC charts, #1 in Canada and Australia, and #6 in the UK. It earned a Gold record in the US.
- Deodato, “Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)” Brazilian jazz artist Eumir Deodato took this Richard Strauss composition and turned it into jazz gold, selling 5 million copies of its album, Prelude, earning him the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1974. DJ’s liked this because it gave them time to run to the restroom.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for April 3, 2020.
The call letters WPTR now belong to a station in nearby Schenectady, New York, but from 1948 until 1985 they were licensed to broadcast from Albany, New York. They’re now WDCD, broadcasting news and talk 24 hours a day. They started playing Top 40 music in 1957. Here’s their Top 10 from March 30, 1958, courtesy of Oldiesloon. All the videos, incidentally, are provided by The45Prof, formerly known as MusicProf78 until YouTube shut down his channel. I’m glad to see him back!
- Perry Como, “Kewpie Doll” Kind of a cute song, which was a Top 10 hit in the US (#6) and the UK (#9).
- Huey (Piano) Smith & The Clowns, “Don’t You Just Know It” A song I didn’t recognize until I heard it; I never knew the title or artist until today. This was their second million-seller and peaked at #9 on the Pop chart and #4 on the R&B chart.
- Paul Anka, “Let The Bells Keep Ringing” This reached #16 on the Pop chart, as he hadn’t found a song that could do as well as “Diana” had the previous year.
- Link Wray & His Ray Men, “Rumble” A classic instrumental; it’s hard to believe that it’s over 60 years old. Reached #16 nationally.
- Ersel Hickey, “Bluebirds Over The Mountain” His best-known song, he wrote it after Phil Everly said he should write his own material. Reached #75 for him nationally; Ritchie Valens and The Beach Boys had luck with it as well.
- Laurie London, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” I seriously thought Laurie was a woman, but he was 14 when he recorded this. It reached #1 on the “Most Played By Jockeys” chart and spent 4 weeks there, but it was his only hit.
- George Hamilton IV, “Now And For Always” George (no relation to the actor) was a teen idol in the ’50’s who became a country artist in the early ’60’s. This song reached #25 naionally.
- Ricky Nelson, “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It” Ricky covered this Hank Williams tune and reached #10 on the Country chart, and reached #18 on the Pop chart.
- Kathy Linden, “Billy” This was Kathy’s first big hit, reaching #7.
- The Monotones, “Book Of Love” I was surprised to learn that this was their only Top 40 hit; it reached #5 nationally.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for March 27, 2020.
Radio station WHN in New York City changed its call letters to WMGM when they switched to Top 40 in mid-’50’s, then switched back to WHN when they ditched the rock format. They’re now WEPN carrying ESPN Radio. Here’s what their Top 10 looked like 63 years ago this past Wednesday.
- Elvis Presley, “Too Much” It looks to me like Elvis had a couple of #1 hits on the charts in early 1957, as “Love Me Tender” was still hot on the charts. This made its way to #1 after that. It also reached #5 on the Country chart and #7 on the R&B chart. Elvis was a real hit machine in the ’50’s and ’60’s.
- Perry Como, “Round And Round” This was a #1 national hit for everyone’s favorite Italian barber from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Perry was another real hit machine in the ’50’s, mostly on the Easy Listening chart.
- Tommy Sands, “Teen-Age Crush” Tommy Sands had been performing since around 1949, but it was his appearance in “The Singin’ Idol” on The Kraft Television Theater in January 1957 that turned him into an instant teen idol and an “overnight success,” partly for singing this song. It reached #2 for two weeks on the Pop chart and #10 on the R&B chart.
- Harry Belafonte, “Banana Boat Song” Funny, Mary and I were just talking about him the other night, trying to remember what genre he was big in (Calypso). Harry took this to #5 on the Pop chart and #7 on the R&B chart and this song became an important part of baseball games in the 21st Century..
- Fats Domino, “I’m Walkin'” Fats didn’t hve the kind of chart success that Elvis and Perry Como did in the ’50’s, but he had his share of hits. This one reached #5 on the Pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart.
- Charlie Gracie, “Butterfly”/Andy Williams, “Butterfly” It was common for radio stations, when the same song was on the survey by more than one artist, to put the both together at the same position. In this case, both Charlie Gracie’s and Andy Williams’s version of “Butterfly” rose to #1 in the US.
- Buddy Knox, “Party Doll” Like both Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison, Byddu was from a small town in Texas (in his case, Happy), though he never had the success that the others did. Nevertheless, this was a million-seller and was certified gold by RIAA, rising as high as #2 on the Pop chart and #3 on the R&B chart. The closest he came to reaching the Top 10 was later that yar, when “Hula Love” reached #12.
- Harry Belafonte, “Mama Look A Bubu” If I were to ask “what musical artist simultaneously had two hits in the Top 10 in March 1957?” you’d probably say “Elvis.” And you’d be wrong. Harry brought this to #11 nationally.
- Terry Gilkyson & The Easy Riders, “Marianne” Terry Gilkyson moved from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania to Los Angeles after World War II and in 1956 formed The Easy Riders with Richard Dehr and Frank Miller. This was their biggest single, earning a gold record. He also wrote the song “Memories Are Made Of This,” later recorded by Dean Martin backed by The Easy Riders. He went to work for Walt Disney Studios in 1960 and wrote music for a number of movies, including “My Heart Was An Island” for 1960’s Swiss Family Robinson and “The Bare Necessities” for 1967’s Jungle Book.
- Sonny James, “Young Love” Sonny was a popular singer whose albums were regularly in the Top 10. “Young Love” might be his biggest hit, reaching #1 on the Pop and Country charts, making it his only crossover hit.
and that’s The Friday 5×2 for March 13, 2030.
Last September, we visited KGB, which did Top 40 music during the ’60’s and ’70’s, switching to an all-news format in 1982. The Classic Top 30 had some additional surveys for them, so I grabbed one from this week in 1968. It’s funny how different markets yield Top 10’s that often diverge from each other, and this week’s is no exception.
- Blood Sweat & Tears, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” Reached #2 on the Hot 100 but only #16 on the Adult Contemporary chart, it was BS&T’s first major hit.
- Bill Deal & The Rhondels, “May I” A band out of Portsmouth, Virginia that crossed blue-eyed soul with beach music, this reached #39 nationwide.
- Tommy Roe, “Dizzy” Allmusic tells us that, for a guy generally believed to be a bubblegum artist, he made some pretty good rockers and has done some pretty great country music. “Dizzy” reached #1 in the US, Canada and the UK.
- The Arbors, “The Letter” The Arbors were a band from Ann Arbor, Michigan. This was their biggest national hit, reaching #20 on the Hot 100.
- Judy Collins, “Someday Soon” Judy Blue Eyes goes country here, and does a pretty fantastic job of it. The single only reached #55 on the Hot 100 and #37 on the Adult Contemporary chart, though.
- Dionne Warwick, “This Girl’s In Love With You” Ms. Warwick, who is without equal when it comes to recording the music of Bacharach and David, did her version of this song after Herb Alpert did his the previous April. While Herb’s version reached #1 for foour weeks, Dionne’s only reached #7.
- Frankie Laine, “You Gave Me A Mountain” Francesco LoVecchio, from the Italian neighborhood in Chicago, was best noted for his country songs, such as this one. Here, he covers the Marty Robbins song and took it to #1 on the Easy Listening chart and #24 on the Hot 100.
- Paul Revere & The Raiders, “Mr. Sun Mr. Moon” Revere and Co. hadn’t had a Top 10 hit in a couple of years (and wouldn’t until “Indian Reservation” in 1971), but they achieved success in the Top 20 with this, which reached #18 nationally.
- The Zombies, “Time Of The Season” The Zombies had their best luck on the charts with this, reaching #3 in the US and #1 in Canada. It was their first Top 10 suingle in the US since 1964.
- Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, “Baby Baby Don’t Cry” Another of those “oh, is that what that is?” moments, as I couldn’t remember this until I heard it. It reached #8 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart.
And that’s the Friday 5×2 for March 6, 2020.