I was still more or less listening to pop radio in 1990, although I found myself seraching the radio dial for alternatives, so I decided to go with this survey from Fox FM (3FOX), which Wikipedia tells us is the most listened-to radio station in all of Australia. I’m impressed…
- Black Box, “Ride On Time” Wikipedia tells us that they were a house music trio who employed Katrin Quinol (the attractive woman seen in the video) as its alleged frontwoman (as they called her, the band’s “image”). There was quite a bit of controversy when it was discovered that Katrin was merely lip-syncing and the actual singer was a woman named Martha Wash. There was a lot of that going on around this time, as you’ll soon see. The song did well in Australia, reaching #2.
- Midnight Oil, “Blue Sky Mine” Midnight Oil is an Australian rock band based in Sydney. They’ve won 11 ARIA awards (the Australian equivalent of the Grammys) and are members of the ARIA Hall of Fame. This went to #1 in the US on the Mainstream Rock and Alternative charts and #8 in Australia.
- The B-52’s, “Love Shack” This alternative band from Athens, Georgia (from whence R. E. M. also comes) has been around since 1979, but I didn’t hear of them until they released this and it went to #3 in the US. It went to #1 in Australia and sold enough records to earn double platinum status.
- Milli Vanilli, “Girl I’m Gonna Miss You” Around the same time that Black Box had their controversy over their alleged lead singer not actually sung their hits, Milli Vanilli, who had won the Grammy for Best New Artist, admitted that they hadn’t actually sung any of their songs. They returned the Grammy and they never achieved that kind of success again. This reached #1 in the US and #3 in Australia.
- Michael Bolton, “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?” Say what you will about Michael Bolton, he did his own singing, and continues to do so to this day. This reached #1 in the US on the Pop and Adult Contemporary charts and #2 in Australia.
- Peter Blakeley, “Crying In The Chapel” Not a cover of the Elvis tune, but pretty good nonetheless. Peter is an Australian White Soul and Adult Contemporary singer and songwriter. This record went double platinum in Australia, but I couldn’t find chart performance data.
- Alannah Myles, “Black Velvet” This was the Canada-based singer-songwriter’s lone #1 in the US, but as her previous single, “Love Is,” reached #36 in this country, technically she’s not a one-hit wonder, but she might as well be. It reached #1 in the US and #3 in Australia, where it achieved Gold status, but only reached #10 in Canada.
- Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville, “Don’t Know Much” Linda had a magnificent voice until Parkinson’s disease (not MS as I told someone else) robbed her of it, but she left an impressive catalog of songs, including this one with R&B singer Aaron Neville, with whom she released three singles. No data on how well it did in Australia, but it reached #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart in the US.
- Lisa Stansfield, “All Around The World” A song that still gets some airplay on Smooth Jazz stations, this reached #9 in Australia and earned Gold status, while it reached #3 in the US on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Dance and R&B charts.
- Aerosmith, “Janie’s Got A Gun” The Bad Boys From Boston reached #2 on the US Mainstream Rock chart and #1 in Australia with this song. What more is there to say?
And that’s the Friday 5×2 for February 15, 2019 (which would have been my dad’s 87th birthday).
I’ve mentioned before that the reason I do this is to play songs that were big hits on some radio station’s weekly survey that have somehow fallen through the cracks and are no longer heard. I found this survey yesterday for a station in Alabama, WDNG AM 1450 in Anniston, and there were songs on it that I never heard. I figure if I haven’t, you probably haven’t either, so here we go.
- Janis Ian, “In The Winter” The followup to the previous year’s #3 hit didn’t do anywhere near as well, not even charting on the Hot 100 and only getting to #97 on the Cash Box survey. Folks in Anniston clearly disagreed.
- Helen Reddy, “Somewhere In The Night” This was Helen’s followup to “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady” and it made #19 nationwide, though I can’t recall it being played in Chicago.
- The Four Seasons, “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night!) A song sung by drummer Gary Polci for a change, with Frankie Valli singing backup. This was a big hit for them, reaching #1 in the US, Canada and the UK.
- Art Garfunkel, “Break Away” The followup to his cover of “I Only Have Eyes For You” reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart but barely cracked the Top 40 (#39). He got the hint and, after a three-year hiatus, went back to doing ’50’s covers.
- Paul Simon, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” Here cones Rhymin’ Simon, besting his erstwhile singing buddy again. This went to #1 in the US and Canada.
- The Bee Gees, “Fanny (Be Tender With My Love)” This went to #2 in Canada and #12 in the US, and to be honest I don’t remember hearing it before today. I think I would have remembered a song named “Fanny.”
- Hagood Hardy, “The Homecoming” A beautiful song that many YouTube commenters said they would like to have played at their funeral. Hardy reached #14 in his adopted home Canada and #6 on the Easy Listening chart in the US, but just missed placing in the Top 40 on the Hot 100 (#41). Clearly the people of Anniston saw differently.
- Nazareth, “Love Hurts” A cover of the 1960 song written by Boudleaux Bryant and sung by The Everly Brothers. Reached #1 in Canada and #8 in the US.
- Cledus Maggard & The Citizens Band, “The White Knight” Get your ears on, buddy! As you might have guessed from the name of the band, this is a CB song. It reached #1 on the Country chart and #19 in the US overall.
- Barry White, “Let The Music Play” This went to #4 on the R&B chart and #32 on the Hot 100 for the big guy.
WDNG-AM has adopted a news-talk format, while WDNG-FM (“My 95”) plays an adult contemporary format, as does its sister station WFHK.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for February 8, 2019.
Let’s head back to Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa (we were there last June) and see what their Top 10 looked like on this day in 1974.
- Peter Vee, “The Tips Of My Fingers” Discogs tells us that Peter Vee is a South African singer/songwriter, producer and record company executive, and that this was his biggest solo hit.
- David Cassidy, “Daydreamer” This was a #1 hit in the UK and South Africa that didn’t make a dent in the US market.
- Johnny Gibson, “My Daddy Was A Rock’n’Roll Man” The site 45cat tells us that this was the first of his two big hits (the other was 1978’s “I Saw The Light”) and that he had a further three that weren’t quite as big.
- Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” This was a hit just about everywhere it was released.
- ABBA, “Ring Ring” A song from before they became famous in the US and UK. Went to #1 in their native Sweden.
- The Rolling Stones, “Angie” Another huge hit for the Stones. Written primarily by Keith Richards, the song was named for his daughter, not Angela Bowie, as was suspected.
- Jody Wayne, “The Wonder Of Your Love” South African singer who was born in Bangalore to Canadian parents. Does some pretty good country music.
- David Bowie, “Sorrow” From David’s 1973 album Pin-Ups, on which he did all covers of songs he liked. This was originally done by The Merseybeats.
- Ringo Starr, “Photograph” Interesting thing this week: these are either songs I’ve played before and are familiar with, songs I’ve never heard by artists I recognize, or songs I don’t recognize done by artists I don’t recognize. This fits into the fitrst category, and in fact I’m pretty sure I’ve played it recently.
- Albert Hammond, “The Peacemaker” American and Canadian audiences remember “It Never Rains In Southern California,” Albert’s only US hit.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for February 1, 2019.
We looked at WKMH (1310 AM, Dearborn, Michigan) back in September, so let’s visit them again and have a look at their Top 10 a few months later.
- The Mark IV, “I Got A Wife” Here’s a sort of novelty record from a singing group out of Chicago. Doesn’t appear to have gone very far nationally, but it did all right in Detroit/Dearborn.
- Neil Sedaka, “The Diary” This was Neil’s first single with RCA and it did reasonably well, peaking at #14 on the Hot 100 and #22 on the Cash Box survey. Hadn’t heard this before today, to be honest.
- Cyril Stapleton, “The Children’s Marching Song” If you’re a Columbo fan, you’ll recognize this as the song he whistles all the time; if not, you’ll recognize this as “Nick Nack, Paddy Whack.” Cyril was an orchestra leader in the UK on the BBC, and when the BBC disbanded them, he formed his own group and had a few minor hits here. This reached #13.
- Pat Boone, “With The Wind And The Rain In Your Hair” Mr. White Bucks reached #21 in the US and the UK with this.
- Andy Williams, “The Hawaiian Wedding Song” My parents’ favorite crooner took this to #11 on the Hot 100, #11 on the Cash Box survey, and #14 on the R&B chart.
- The McGuire Sisters, “May You Always” Reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #21 over at Cash Box as well as #15 in the UK.
- The Crests, “16 Candles” This was originally the B side of “Beside You,” but the listeners spoke and the group took this to #2 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B chart.
- Billy Grammer, “Gotta Travel On” Country singer (he had been a member of The Grand Old Opry) had his first hit record with this one, taking it to #5 on the Country chart and #4 on the Hot 100 and earning him a gold record in the process. Later efforts were not as well appreciated.
- Lloyd Price, “Stagger Lee” Lloyd took this to #1 on the Hot 100 and R&B chart. He’s had an interesting life that includes being a singer, record label executive, promoter, builder, and food company executive, and is still active at 85.
- Ritchie Valens, “Donna” His highest-charting single nationally (#2), the flip side was “La Bamba.” He was killed, along with Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper (J. P. Richardson) in a plane crash nine days later.
And that’s your Friday 5×2 for January 25, 2019.
KICK (1340 AM, Springfield, Missouri) currently bills itself as “The Ozarks’ Big Talker,” but in 1975 they were a Top 40 station. Let’s set the WABAC for 1975 and check out their Top 10, shall we? Note that, as is usually the case in January, most of these songs were already on the chart from 1974.
- Eagles, “Best Of My Love” I had to use a live version because YouTube blocked all the studio versions. As Don Henley (at least that’s who I think it is) announced at the beginning, this was written by them and J. D. Souther, who joins them onstage. This was a #1 hit for them in the US and Canada in late 1974 and early 1975.
- Barry White, “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything” One of the truly great voices in R&B, Barry took this to #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart.
- Neil Sedaka, “Laughter In The Rain” From his appropriately-titled Sedaka’s Back, this launched the rebirth of Neil’s career. It reached #1 for a week on the Hot 100. It was his first record on Elton John’s Rocket label.
- Stevie Wonder, “Boogie On Reggae Woman” from his 1974 album Fulfillingness’ First Finale, this went to #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart. I once saw Stevie in the Newark airport. He didn’t see me, though. *rimshot*
- Paul McCartney, “Junior’s Farm” This is generally credited to just Paul, although Wings was on the record. Or maybe it was Paul and Wings, I’m not sure. Anyway, this single-only release reached #3 on the Hot 100.
- Ringo Starr, “Only You (And You Alone)” Originally recorded by The Platters in 1955, Ringo took this to #6 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Easy Listening chart.
- Barry Manilow, “Mandy” From his second album, 1974’s Barry Manilow II, this was Barry’s breakout hit, reaching #1 on the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary chart in both the US and Canada.
- Carl Douglas, “Kung Fu Fighting” A one-hit wonder in the US, this reached #1 and pretty much killed his career.
- Elton John, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” Rarely does an artist do a Beatles song better than The Fab Four, but Elton came pretty close here. He had help from John Lennon, who apeared on the single as “Dr. Winston O’Boogie.” This reached #1 for two weeks in January 1975, right around this time.
- Carpenters, “Please Mr. Postman” Karen and Richard Carpenter were huge in the ’70’s, and this cover of The Marvelettees’ #1 song from 1961 (the first #1 on the Hot 100 on Motown Records) did as well as the original, reaching #1 on the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary chart.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for January 18, 2019.