As I was going through the list of surveys on ARSA this morning, I noticed that there was a station in Milwaukee called WFOX. They gave up their call letters in 1967 in favor of WNOV, targeting mostly an African American audience. The WFOX call letters were picked up in 1972 by an Atlanta-based company (AMFM), which ran it on 97.1 FM first as a Top 40 station, then as an oldies station from 1989 to 2003, when it called itself “Fox 97.” The reason I mention all of that is because, while cleaning up my office, I found this keychain from the station:
WFOX became WSRV (97.1 The River) in 2006 after a few years as a hip-hop station. The call letters went to a station in Southport, Connecticut which calls itself “95.9 FM The Fox.” Both the current WFOX and the previous WFOX are broadcasting a classic rock format.
None of the preceding has anything to do with what we’re going to talk about today. I just thought it was interesting.
Anyway, in 1958 WFOX was on the air in Milwaukee at 860 AM, broadcasting Top 40 music. Here, then, is their Top 10 from March 1 of that year.
- The Royal Teens, “Short Shorts” A song written in part by 15-year-old Bob Gaudio, who became a member of The Four Seasons. This went to #3 nationally.
- Jimmie Rodgers, “Oh-Oh I’m Falling In Love Again” This was Jimmie’s third Top 10 record after “Honeycomb” and “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine.” It reached #7 nationally, #5 on the Country chart.
- The Champs, “Tequila” A #1 hit for The Champs, who at one time called Jim Seals and Dash Crofts members.
- Elvis Presley, “Don’t” Elvis and his backup singers, The Jordanaires, took this to #1 on the Hot 100, #2 on the Country chart, and #4 on the R&B chart. Surprisingly, it doesn’t get a whole lot of play on oldies stations; I don’t think I ever heard this before today.
- Pat Boone, “A Wonderful Time Up There” Reached #4 on the Hot 100. Not bad for what might be considered a spiritual.
- The Silhouettes, “Get A Job” Listen to this and you know where the oldies band Sha Na Na got its name. This went to #1 on the Hot 100 and the R&B chart for them, their only chart single.
- Frankie Avalon, “Dede Dinah” Frankie’s first real hit, which went to #7 nationally (Cash Box had it at #11).
- The Crescendos, “Oh Julie” My friend Craig over at PopBopRockTilUDrop just published a post the other day about this song and the woman singing in the background, Janice Green.Another one-hit wonder, the band split in 1959 and, even though they all lived within 15 miles of each other, never got back together for a concert for over 30 years.
- The Four Preps, “26 Miles (Santa Catalina)” This might be one of the first songs to use the metric system. Went to #2 nationally.
- Perry Como, “Catch A Falling Star” Perry had a lot of hits that could have been certified Gold if he had taken the time to have them certified, but being the humble guy he was, he didn’t want to make a big thing of it. This reached #2 officially, even though it was probably a #1 hit in one or two of the three categories (record sales, disc-jockey surveys, and jukebox plays) that Billboard used to determine the Hot 100.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for March 1, 2019.
WKBR in beautiful Manchester, New Hampshire was a popular Top 40 station, then switched formats from sports to country and satellite-delivered oldies (you know, robo-DJ’s) until 2006, when it changed its call letters to WGAM (“The Game”) and switched to all sports-talk, first affiliated with Fox Sports, then with ESPN. Last year, WGAM and its FM twin, WGHM, rebranded as “Oldies Radio WGAM.” Maybe they play some of the songs that were on their Top 10 in 1958. There’s some crossover with other stations we’ve done so far, but a couple of interesting others.
- Ivan, “Real Wild Child” Ivan is the middle name of Jerry Allison, who was drummer for The Crickets (as in Buddy Holly &).
- Bobby Hendricks, “Itchy Twitchy Feeling” Bobby was lead singer for The Drifters before going out on his own. This was his first solo release, and it reached #5 on the R&B chart and #25 on the Hot 100.
- Tommy Edwards, “It’s All In The Game” This has shown up a lot of times here. It’s a great song, I’m sure you’ll agree.
- Don Gibson, “Blue Blue Day” I know a guy named Don Gibson, and this ain’t him. Gibson was a country singer and songwriter who wrote, among other songs, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” which was covered by Ray Charles. This reached #1 on the Country chart and #20 on the Hot 100.
- Roger Williams, “Near You” The Top 40 still had room for easy listening performers. Roger had a #10 hit nationally with this.
- Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, “Tea For Two Cha Cha” Okay, no more 1958, especially if this is one of the songs.
- Bobby Day, “Rockin’ Robin” A great song even after Michael Jackson did it. Bobby’s original reached #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart.
- Dion & The Belmonts, “No One Knows” One of their lesser-known hits, this reached #19 on the Hot 100.
- Jane Morgan, “The Day The Rains Came” The lovely Ms. Morgan found her initial success in France and the UK, and sang songs in French and English. She only reached #20 in the US with this, but it was a #1 hit in the UK. The flip side is the song sung in French.
- Gordon MacRae, “The Secret” An actor and singer of some note, Gordon reached #18 with this nationwide.
And that’s your Friday 5×2 for September 28, 2018.
WKMH (AM 1310) is now WDTW, “La Mega,” having gone through a number of changes since this survey was issued. During the ’60’s it was WKNR, “Keener 13,” using a Top 40 format. It’s been through a few changes over the years. Of course, it was a Top 40 station in 1958, so let’s look at their survey.
Continue reading “The Friday 5×2: WKMH, Dearborn, Michigan, On This Day In 1958”
2UW in Sydney is noted for being the first station outside the US to broadcast 24 hours a day, starting in 1935. In 1994 they moved to the FM band and changed their name to Mix 106.5, and in 2014 renamed themselves KIIS 106.5. In 1958, they were a Top 40 station, and most of this week’s survey consisted of songs that were also hits in the US.
- Dean Martin, “Return To Me” A beautiful, if somewhat melancholy, song that was the theme song for the 2000 movie of the same name which starred David Duchovny, Minnie Driver, and Carroll O’Connor.
- Bobby Freeman, “Do You Wanna Dance” One of Freeman’s two Top 10- hits, the other being 1964’s “C’mon and Swim.” Bette Midler did a downtempo version of this in 1972 and it became her first hit.
- Everly Brothers, “All I Have To Do Is Dream” Their second #1 hit in the US, it peaked at #3 in Australia.
- Perez Prado & His Orchestra, “Patricia” This was the last #1 song on the Billboard Disc Jockeys and Top 100 charts; it was replaced the following week by the Hot 100.
- Jimmie Rodgers, “Secretly” Country singer Jimmie Rodgers had a string of crossover hits in the ’50’s, the biggest being “Honeycomb.” This song reached #3 in the US.
- Toni Arden, “Padre” Toni (born Antoinette Ardizzone in New York) started as a big band singer in the ’40’s and recorded for the National Records label before moving to Columbia Records in 1949. In the mid-’50’s she moved to Decca Records and recorded this, her biggest hit and only Gold record, in 1958.
- Jody Reynolds, “Endless Sleep” One of the first big names in Rockabilly music, this was his biggest-selling record.
- David Seville, “Witch Doctor” Ross Bagdasarian, a/k/a David Seville, was one of the pioneers of mechanically-altered voices. The success of this record no doubt led to the creation of Alvin and The Chipmunks.
- The Four Preps, “Big Man” Vocal groups were still popular in the late ’50’s. This was written by Bruce Belland and Glen Larson of the group. Belland and Larson would later turn their attentions to television, with Belland producing several game shows for Ralph Edwards productions, later becoming a network executive, while Larson, using his full name Glen A. Larson, went on to create some memorable TV shows, including Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, The Fall Guy and others.
- Sheb Wooley, “The Purple People Eater” Another example of a mechanically-altered voice was this song by actor and singer Sheb Wooley, who appeared in a number of Western movies and TV shows (including Rawhide). He’s also believed to be the voice actor who created the Wilhelm scream.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for August 24, 2018.
Yes, another survey this week. I had been working on a killer list based on the word “time,” only to discover that I had already done one, and more recently Mike Golch featured five “time songs” recently on his Friday Five (I think he calls it “Five on Friday”). So I had to ditch that idea and come up with something quick, and this was the quickest thing I could think of. If anyone has suggestions for a Friday Five, leave it in the comments and I’ll get to it.
Anyway, today we turn the clock back to May 12, 1958, and examine the Top Ten at radio station WJJD in Chicago. As was usually the case with these early rock & roll surveys, it was a mixed bag of rock, doo-wop, easy listening, and country, even a novelty record thrown in for good measure.
- The Monotones, “Book of Love” The Monotones had one hit, and this was it.
- Perry Como, “Kewpie Doll” This is Perry’s attempt at rock & roll, and it’s not an especially bad one.
- Art & Dotty, “Chanson d’Amour” I’m always reminded of the version by The Muppets, which had me laughing for days after the first time I saw it. A&D do a much more straightforward version, but there are still a few laughs to be had (“ya tada tada”).
- Chuck Berry, “Johnny B. Goode” No offense to Chuck, but this is maybe my least favorite of his songs, simply because it’s been played to death.
- Laurie London, “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” A little folk-gospel music. How’d that get in here?
- Elvis Presley, “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” This song went to #2 on the Hot 100, #3 on the Country chart, and #1 on the R&B chart, and was certified platinum. And I rarely hear it. Go figure.
- David Seville, “Witch Doctor” Ross Bagdasarian, a/k/a David Seville, gave us a sample of what he could do recording his voice at slow speed and playing it at higher speed. We might never have had The Chipmunks if this record hadn’t done well.
- The Platters, “Twilight Time” One of the great “transitional” groups between the postwar Easy Listening and rock & roll, always smooth and fun to dance to. This reached #1 on the Hot 100 and R&B charts.
- Dean Martin, “Return To Me” Only went as high as #4 in the US, but did better in the rest of the world. It was used as the title song for the 2000 movie that starred David Duchovny, Minnie Driver, and Carroll O’Connor. I actually liked the movie, which I think we either rented or saw on TV.
- The Everly Brothers, “All I Have To Do Is Dream” Boudleaux Bryant, who usually worked with his wife Felice, wrote this one, and as is usually the case when the Bryants and the Everlys got together, the result was a hit.
Thanks as always to Oldiesloon for today’s list. And that’s The Friday Five for May 12, 2017.