Today we’re going to head back to Chicago and WCFL, which had its offices and studios at Marina City on the southern bank of the Chicago River.
Here’s their Top 10 from May 28, 1969. Big 10 (their nickname at the time) created two “double A side singles,” even though only one of the songs ws an official A side. Don’t ask me why…
Paul Revere & The Raiders, “Let Me!” Up from #20 the week before, a song from their album Alias Pink Puzz, this only mae #20 nationwide.
Marvin Gaye, “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” A cover of a Temptations song from three years before, this spent a second week at #9 on Super CFL. Nationally, it reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart.
Elvis Presley, “In The Ghetto” Jumped into #8 from #22 on the Big 10 survey. It peaked at #3 nationally.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bad Moon Rising”/”Lodi” The first of our two “double A side singles,” made the jump from #28 in just one week. “Bad Moon Rising,” which was the lead single, peaked at #2 nationally; “Lodi” never reached the Top 40.
Edwin Hawkins Singers, “Oh, Happy Day” Down from #5 the week before, this was an international hit, as I’m sure I’ve already told you.
The Buchanan Brothers, “Medicine Man (Part 1)” The Buchanan Brothers were Terry Cashman, Gene Pistilli, and Tommy West, who were a folk-pop trio. They changed their name to record this, which peaked at #22 nationally. On WCFL, they had jumped to #5 from #14 the previous week.
Neon Philharmonic, “Morning Girl” As you can probably surmise from the name of the band and the sound of the single, The Neon Philharmonic was a psychedelic pop band. They had released two albums in 1969, The Moth Confesses and their eponymous second album, from which this was drawn. It reached #22 nationwide, their bestselling single, and was up one spot from #5 on this survey.
The Guess Who, “These Eyes” WCFL’s Top 3 this week were the same as the week before. From their first album, Wheatfield Soul, this peaked at #6 in the US and #7 in Canada.
Mercy, “Love (Can Make You Happy)” Despite having the original single pulled off the market in a legal dispute, this song earned a Gold record two months after it was released, reaching #2 on both the Hot 100 and Easy Listening chart. A lot of us learned to slow dance to this one, so it was a favorite.
The Beatles, “Get Back”/”Don’t Let Me Down” The second “Double A side single,” “Get Back” was an international #1, while “Don’t Let Me Down” never charted. My copy of “Get Back” had “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)” on the flip side. Weird.
KLCN was at one time Arkansas’s oldest radio station. Located in the far northeast corner of the state, it reached cities in Missouri and Tennessee as well. It’s been off the air since 2017, and its owner surrendered their license to operate in 2018. Anyway, let’s see what was on their Top 10 64 years ago.
Little Richard, “Long Tall Sally” This video includes “Tutti Frutti,” played for the benefit of the dance contest winners. For a big man, he sure cuts a rug. “Sally” was on the R&B chart for 19 weeks, including six at #1, and reached #6 on the Hot 100.
The Four Lads, “My Lttle Angel” This was the B side to “Standing On The Corner,” and while it didn’t do as well as that song, it reached a very respectable #22 nationwide.
The Platters, “The Magic Touch” This song was released in February 1956, and gradually made its way to #4 on the R&B chart and the Hot 100.
Elvis Presley, “Heartbreak Hotel” Released in January, it made its way to #1 on the Pop and Country charts in the US and Canada and #5 on the R&B chart. It also reached #2 in the UK and #3 in Australia. It was Presley’s first record for RCA, and he was joined by Chet Atkins on guitar and Floyd Cramer on piano.
Otis Williams & His Charms, “Ivory Tower” This Otis Williams is not the one from The Temptations, nor is he a relative, but The Charms were a popular doo-wop group in the ’50’s. “Ivory Tower” reached #11 on the Pop chart and #5 on the R&B chart.
Roy Orbison, “Ooby Dooby” This was Roy’s first record to chart anywhere, reaching #59 nationwide. It would be another four years before reaaching the Top 10 with “Only The Lonely.”
Warren Smith, “Rock n’ Roll Ruby” Just because it didn’t chart nationally doesn’t mean it didn’t so well in certain places, as we see here.
Joe Turner, “Corrine Corrina” Blues singer Big Joe Turner had some chart success, mostly in Southern markets, like this song here.
Morris Stoloff, “Moonglow and Theme From Picnic“ Iy’s all “Moonglow” to me, because I don’t know where one ends and the other begins. I didn’t use it here, but for my money, the scene in the movie Picnic where William Holden and Kim Novak dance to this is one of the hottest in movies.
Fats Domino, “I’m In Love Again” Released in March, this was on of Fats’ many Top 10 hits, reaching #5 on the Pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart. The flip side, “My Blue Heaven,” also reached the Top 40, peaking #22.
Toay, we head back out onto that boat that floated off the coast of Hilversum, the Netherlands, which was the home to Radio Veronica, where British teenagers could hear the actual songs being played, not covers by the Northern Dance Orchestra on the BBC. Here’s their survey for this week in 1966.
Boudewijn De Groot, “Welterusten Mijnheer De President (Good Night Mr. President)” Labeled as a protest singer becaue of this song, which was written by his friend and songwriter Lennaert Nijgh, this was probably his biggest hit, not that I have any way of knowing how far up the survey this went.
The Walker Brothers, “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)” Bobs Crewe and Gaudio from The Four Seasons wrote this and Frankie Valli did it as a solo number in 1965, but The Walker Brothers made it a hit. It reached #9 in the Netherlands, #1 in the UK, and #13 in the US.
Crispian St. Peters, “You Were On My Mind” Crispian did his version of We Five’s hit, and it’s … okay. He had far better luck with the next song.
The Jets, “Pied Piper” Crispian St. Peters had a concurrent version of this on the chart, and Radio Veronica had his listed here as well. His is more widely known. The Jets were a Dutch band from Utrecht, which is about all I could find on them.
Barbra Streisand, “Second Hand Rose” From the Broadway Musical Funny Girl from 1964. They didn’t make the movie until a couple of years later.
Nancy Sinatra, “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” Daddy was none too happy with his daughter prancing around like this, but Nancy had a great hit with the song. And if the song didn’t get you, the video did.
Simon & Garfunkel, “Homeward Bound” S&G had a great year in 1966, with two albums (Sounds of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, from which this is taken) that went triple platinum in the US and five singles, two of which made it to the Top 20. This was their followup to “Sounds of Silence” and reached #5.
The Who, “Substitute” This did very well in the UK (#5) and The Netherlands (#7) but didn’t chart in the US.
The Kinks, “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” This was a #1 hit in The Netherlands and New Zealand and a #4 in the UK, but barely made the Top 40 (#36) in the US. It did get a lot of FM airplay
The Beach Boys, “Sloop John B” From Pet Sounds, a cover of a folk tune that my aunts played ad nauseum around this time.
Now a news/talker (surprise!) in Omaha, KOIL signed on in 1925 and was purchased in 1953 by Don Burden, who turned it into a Top 40 station. There were evidently improprieties that forced Burden to surrender his licenses (information on the improprieties can be found here), and the station went dark for several months in 1976. This survey came a few years earlier…
Gladys Knight & The Pips, “Help Me Make It Through The Night” A 1970 song written by Kris Kristofferson and made famous by Sammi Smith, given the soul treatment by Gladys Knight & The Pips. Soul and Country are quite similar, sometimes almost interchangeable. This only made it to #33 on the Hot 100, but to #13 in the R&B chart and #11 in the UK.
Todd Rundgren, “I Saw The Light” Todd played all the instruments and provided all the vocals on this, the first track on his 1972 album Something/Anything?. Reached #16 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the Easy Listening chart.
Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, “Hot Rod Lincoln” Originally recorded by Charlie Ryan in 1955, Commander Cody had the most successful version, peaking at #9 on the Hot 100.
Michael Jackson, “Rockin’ Robin” Originally recorded by Bobby Day in 1958, Michael’s cover reached #2 on both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart.
The Staple Singers, “I’ll Take You There” Al Bell wrote this under his real name, Alvertis Isbell, and The Staple Singers recorded it, taking it to #1 on both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart. I think it struck a chord with everyone.
Al Green, “Look What You Done For Me” Al took this to #4 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart. It was the hit before “I’m Still In Love With You.”
Stylistics, “Betcha By Golly, Wow” Interesting: Thom Bell and Linda Creed wrote this as “Keep Growing Strong,” and it was recorded by Connie Stevens in 1970. Renamed “Betcha By Golly, Wow,” The Stylistics recorded it on their eponymous 1971 album and released it as a single in 1972. It reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart and earned a Gold record. Listen to Connie’s recording of it if you get a chance; it’s almost as pretty as she is.
Ringo Starr, “Back Off Boogaloo” Written by Ringo with help from his buddy George Harrison, who plays slide guitar on the record. It was thought that the song was a dig at Paul McCartney, but it was inspired by something Marc Bolan of T. Rex said. It wasn’t included on an album until Ringo re-recorded it for 1981’s Stop And Smell The Roses. Only made it to #9 on the Hot 100, but reached #2 in Canada and the UK.
Paul Simon, “Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard” Simon’s second single off his eponymous 1972 album left people wanting to know what he and Julio did that got them arrested and who the “radical preach” was, but he says it was just a bunch of “inscrutable doggerel,” meaning it was all stream-of-consciousness (the radical preach was thought to be Daniel Berrigan, who appeared on the cover of Time magazine with his brother Phillip around the time Simon wrote the song). It only reached #22 on the Hot 100, which is a surprise (it was a #7 on Cash Box‘s survey).
Dr. Hook, “Sylvia’s Mother” An autobiographical song by Shel Silverstein, it was a Top 10 hit in most of the world (#5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Cash Box survey) for Dr. Hook.
We last visited KHJ in Los Angeles a few months ago, so let’s see what they had on their playlist this week in 1969.
The Beatles with Billy Preston, “Get Back” Released in April, this was a #1 hit in the US, Canada, and around the world. It was the first time The Beatles had another artist acknowledged on a record, at their request. It was also the first single in true stereo in the US; in the UK, that wouldn’t happen until their next single, “The Ballad of John & Yoko.”
The Isley Brothers, “It’s Your Thing” The Isleys’ first single after they left Motown Records for their own label, T-Neck Records, distributed by Buddah. It reached #2 on the Hot 100 and the Cash Box survey and #1 on the R&B chart.
Andy Williams, “Happy Heart” Andy and Petula Clark both released versions of this song close to each other, and Andy’s reached #1 on the Easy Listening chart while Petula’s only reached #12.
Spiral Starecase, “More Today Than Yesterday” This reached #6 in Canada, #7 on the Cash Box survey, and #12 on the Hot 100. Seems it should have been higher, but that’s the way it goes.
Mercy, “Love (Can Make You Happy)” A one-hit wonder if ever there was one, Mercy took this to #2 on the Hot 100, where it was kept out of the #1 spot by The Beatles’ “Get Back.”
Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, “Do Your Thing” I don’t really remember this band, which is odd, because they had a number of Top 10 hits on either the Hot 100 or the R&B chart. This one reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the R&B chart.
Booker T. & The MG’s, “Time Is Tight” Booker T. & The MG’s recorded two versions of this. This is the version that was released as a single, and it reached #6 on the Hot 100 and #7 on the R&B chart. A longer and faster version was included in the soundtrack for the film UpTight.
Simon & Garfunkel, “The Boxer”/”Baby Driver” This was the lead simgle from the 1970 album Bridge Over Troubled Water and reached #7 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the Cash Box survey, as well as #3 in Canada. Most stations didn’t include “Baby Driver,” the B side, but KHJ did.
Edwin Hawkins Singers, “O Happy Day” This is a 1967 adaptation of an 18th Century hymn by Phillip Dodderidge. It became an intarnational hit, reaching #4 on the Hot 100 in the US.
The Cowsills, “Hair” From the musical of the same name, The Cowsills went to #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 in Australia and New Zealand.