Let’s head up to the Pacific Northwest today and see what KUBE, 93.3 FM in Seattle, was playing. Currently they’re a rhythmic contemporary station run by the iHeart media conglomerate, but back in 1984 they were a Top 40 station. Their Top 10 as of December 14, 1984.
Morris Day & The Time, “Jungle Love” Along with Prince and several others, Morris Day & The Time defined the “Minneapolis Sound,” which mixed soul and dance with funk, rock & roll and other elements. This song, from their 1984 album Ice Cream Castle, reached #20 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B chart.
Hall & Oates, “Out Of Touch” The first single off of their 1984 album Big Bam Boom, this went to #1 on the Hot 100 and Dance charts, #4 in Canada and #11 in Australia, and continued H&O’s streak of Top 10 singles that started with “Kiss On My List” in 1981.
Paul McCartney, “No More Lonely Nights” After his days with Wings, Paul decided to write a musical, Give My Regards To Broad Street, which was universally panned gy the critics, including Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times and the show Sneak Previews, who said “skip the movie and go right to the soundtrack.” This song reached #6 in the US and #2 in the UK.
Julian Lennon, “Valotte” Title track from his 1984 debut album and the second single from it, it reached #9 on the Hot 100 and in Canada, #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #2 on the Rock chart. Julian was forgotten not just by his father (to whom he bears a striking resemblance) but by the record-buying public in the US after 1989, but he continues to record and perform.
Pat Benatar, “We Belong” From the lovely Ms. Benatar’s 1984 album Tropico, this was released a month before the album and reached #5 in the US and was the first of her singles to reach the British Top 40 peaking at #22).
New Edition, “Cool It Now” The group that gave us Bobby Brown and Bell Biv DeVoe was just getting started when they released this from their eponymous 1984 album. It was their first Top 10 single, reaching #4 on the Hot 100, it topped the R&B chart and was certified Gold.
Duran Duran, “The Wild Boys” The band considered by many to be the sound of the ’80’s released this off their 1984 live album Arena and it reached #2 in the US and UK.
The Honeydrippers, “Sea Of Love” Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant formed The Honeydrippers along with former Led Zep bandmate Jimmy Page, former Yardbird Jeff Beck, and other sidemen and friends. This peaked at #4 and was their only Top 10 hit. Wikipedia tells us “The band appeared on Saturday Night Live on 15 December 1984 [the day after this survey], performing ‘Rockin’ at Midnight’ and ‘Santa Claus Is Back in Town.’ The band featured Brian Setzer and Georg Wadenius on guitar, Tom Barney on bass, Paul Shaffer on piano, Buddy Williams on drums, Michael Brecker, Lou Marini, and Ronnie Cuber on saxophones, Jon Faddis on trumpet and Tom Malone on trombone.” That’s some serious firepower…
Jack Wagner, “All I Need” Jack is probably best-known for his roles on the soap operas General Hospital (which once boasted Rick Springfield in its cast), Santa Barbara, The Bold and The Beautiful, and Melrose Place, but he had some success as a recording artist. This was the title track from his 1984 debut album and reached #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Madonna, “Like A Virgin” Title track from The Material Girl’s second studio album and the first single from it, this was a #1 hit in the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan and boosted Madonna into the spotlight.
We go back Down Under for station 2GB, who first took to the airwaves in August 1926 as the voice of the Theosophical Society. They were the flagship station of the Macquarie Radio Network, started in 1938. I’m not sure when their stint as a Top 40 station started or ended, but I can tell you they are now at 873 kHz and are a news-talk station, and that on this day in 1963, this was their Top 10.
Kathy Kirby, “Dance On” Kathy was a British singer who bore a striking resemblance to Marilyn Monroe and was believed to be the highest-paid singer of her generation. This was her first single and it reached #11 in the UK. Her 1963 follow-up, a cover of Doris Day’s “Secret Love,” is her best-known song.
Sheb Wooley, “Hootenanny Hoot” Rockabilly singer and character actor Sheb is best known for his 1958 single “Purple People Eater.” This doesn’t appear to have been released in the US and Canada, at least not as a single.
The Singing Nun, “Dominique” I’ve featured this one a number of times, so you should know the story behind it. ‘Nuff said.
The Delltones, “Hanging Five” The Delltones are an Australian rock ‘n’ roll band that’s been around since 1958, though I understand they’re now on hiatus. They lost their lead singer, Noel Widerberg, in a motorcycle accident in 1962, just before their single “Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands” reached the Australian charts. The flip side of this record was a cover of Jan & Dean’s “Surf City.”
Johnny Devlin, “Stomp The Tumbarumba” Johnny is considered the “Australian Elvis Presley.” This is one of several records (the others were “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”) that featured The Bee Gees on background vocals. And no, I don’t know what a “tumbarumba” is; if there are any Australian readers, maybe you can provide a definition…
The Crystals, “Then He Kissed Me” Written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry, and Phil Spector (who also produced the record), this reached #6 in the US and #2 in the UK.
Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs, “Sugar Shack” I just did this one several weeks ago, so you remember the story of how The Fireballs were an instrumental group until Jimmy Gilmer joined them. This song eventually reached #1 in Australia.
Brian Poole & The Tremeloes, “Do You Love Me?” The tremeloes were a British band that ultimately became part of the British Invasion. This reached #1 in the US and #19 in Australia, but it obviously did better in certain markets.
Jimmy Little, “Royal Telephone” An Australian Aboriginal from Cummeragunja Mission, NSW, Jimmy Little reached #10 nationally in Australia with this.
Gerry & The Pacemakers, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” Another band that would be instrumental (so to speak) in the British Invasion that was soon to sweep the US, Gerry Marsden and crew shared managers (Brian Epstein), producers (George Martin), origin (Liverpool), and sound (Merseybeat) with another group you might have heard of.
We did WLS last week, so let’s look at their rivals down Wacker Drive in Marina City. WCFL didn’t start in the rock ‘n’ roll business until late 1965 and got out of it in March 1976, when they went to “beautiful music”. Currently they’re sports-talk station WMVP. The competition between the two stations was pretty fierce during my later grammar school and high school days, but the Chicago Federation of Labor (the CFL in WCFL) had had enough of the Top 40 format and took the station as far from it as they could. Anyway, here’s the “Super CFL Survey” from December 1, 1973.
The DeFranco Family, “Heartbeat, It’s A Love Beat” Because there was always room for one more “family” band. The focus was all on 14-year-old Tony, who was a cover boy for Tiger Beat and other tweenybopper magazines. This was their only national hit.
Billy Preston, “Space Race” The followup to “Will It Go Round In Circles” had Billy reprising his 1971 hit “Outa-Space.” This reached #4 nationally.
Gladys Knight & The Pips, “Midnight Train To Georgia” This had topped WCFL’s survey the week before, so this was a good-sized dropoff. Nevertheless, this was still gold for Gladys & The Pips.
Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” Making almost as impressive a climb as Gladys and the boys had a drop was the title track from Sir Elton’s 1973 megahit album, which had been at #12 the week prior.
Gilbert O’Sullivan, “Ooh Baby” This is a rockin’ little number that I don’t recall ever hearing. I probably did and promptly forgot it.
Chicago, “Just You ‘n’ Me” From Chicago VI, this followup to “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” did much better nationally than its predecessor, even with the somewhat free-form soprano sax solo by Walter Parazaider toward the end. Maybe because of it.
Carpenters, “Top Of The World” As I think I said back when I profiled Karen and Richard for my Two For Tuesday Series “High School Days,” just about anything they did in the early ’70’s was magic. This was their first national #1 since “Close To You.”
Todd Rundgren, “Hello It’s Me” From his 1972 album Something/Anything?, this is a remake of a song Todd did back in his Nazz days that was almost a hit. This reached #5 nationwide.
Jim Croce, “I Got A Name” Title track from his fifth and final studio album (released the day after his death), this went to #10 nationally.
Ringo Starr, “Photograph” Ringo and his Beatle buddy George Harrison wrote this for his 1973 self-titled album. It rose to #1 on the Hot 100 but only to #8 in the UK.
In addition to using the Oldiesloon and ARSA sites to do these weekly survey posts, I also look through the posts on Pinterest, where a lot of folks have posted scans of surveys in their collection. I turned up this survey, from WLS for November 24, 1967:
I realize it’s a day off, but it was the day after Thanksgiving 1967 (“Black Friday” hadn’t been invented yet), so this is the perfect time for it. Here’s the Top 10.
Bobby Vee, “Beautiful People” It’s surprising that I don’t really have a clear recollection of many of the songs on the whole survey, and even a couple that were in the Top 10. This is one of them. It only reached #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #27 on the Cash Box Top 100. That happens sometimes.
The Four Seasons, “Watch The Flowers Grow” Another song I don’t recall. The world was still recuperating from The Summer of Love when this came out in October. This reached #30 on the Hot 100.
Cher, “You Better Sit Down, Kids” Written by Sonny, this was on her fourth studio album, ’67’s With Love, Cher. Sonny wrote the song from a man’s perspective, and Cher sang it as written. Peaked at #9 on Billboard and #8 on Cash Box.
Victor Lundberg, “An Open Letter To My Teenage Son” There were several spoken-word over music records that reached the Top 10 in the late ’60’s, and this was one of them. Lundberg was a DJ at WMAX radio in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and this was a local hit originally, then Liberty Records picked it up and issued it nationwide. In six weeks on the Hot 100, it went from #84 to #58, from there to #15, then on to #10, where it spent two weeks before falling to #22 before dropping off the survey entirely.
Robert Knight, “Everlasting Love” A song by Buzz Casoin and Mac Gayden, Knight took this to #13 nationwide in 1967. He re-released it in 1974 and it reached #19. Since then, this has been covered many times. It’s a beautiful song, I think
Bobby Vinton, “Please Love Me Forever” The pride of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania was the third person to have a hit with this, after Tommy Edwards (it was the flip side to “It’s All In The Game”) in 1958 and Cathy Jean and The Roommates in 1960. Bobby’s cover did the best, reaching #6 on the Hot 100, #5 on the Cash Box Top 100, and #1 in Canada.
Lulu, “To Sir With Love” Glaswegian Lulu was a popular singer and TV personality in the UK before making her way across the Atlantic. This was her only Top 10 hit in the US, reaching #1 on the Hot 100, although she had a minor hit with “Oh Me Oh My” two years later.
Strawberry Alarm Clock, “Incense and Peppermints” This was Strawberry Alarm Clock’s one big hit, reaching #1 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts. Their next single, 1968’s “Tomorrow,” peaked at #23 on Billboard and #19 on Cash Box, and that was it for them chart-wise. Nonetheless, they continue to perform.
The Cowsills, “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things” Some three million copies of this song have been sold since it first came out, and it tied with their 1969 hit “Hair” as the group’s most popular, with both songs reaching #2 in the US and #1 in Canada. This was originally named “The Flower Girl,” but they changed it so as not to be confused with Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Wear Flowers In Your Hair),” a huge hit that summer.
The Monkees, “Daydream Believer” Written by John Stewart of The Kingston Trio shortly before he departed that group, it had been offered to We Five (“You Were On My Mind”) and Spanky & Our Gang (“Like To Get To Know You”), both of whom turned it down. Davy Jones was reportedly “pissed off” about it, thinking the same thing. It turned out to be their fifth and last #1 hit, topping the Hot 100 for five weeks.
Today we drop in on Ann Arbor, Michigan, where a couple of people who comment here (KSBeth and Ed Thierbach, and I’m sure there are more) live, as does the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), to visit WPAG (AM 1050), which is now sports talker WTKA. At the time, they appear to have been simulcasting on WPAG-FM (now WQKL, “ann arbor’s 107one,” playing “Quality Music From Then & Now”). The article at The Blogger’s Best Friend ™ talks about WPAG as a middle-of-the-road station as of 1970, but the survey we’ll look at today, from November 16, 1970 (the “Scene ’70 Sound Survey”), is definitely a Top 40 one.