The Friday 5×2: WGH (1310 AM, Hampton Roads, VA)

WGH-AM is now “1310 The Power,” broadcasting urban talk and oldies to the Virginia Beach/Newport News/Hampton Roads area of Virginia (their antenna is in Hampton Roads), but was a Top 40 station in 1963. Here’s their top ten on April 21 of that year.

  1. Paul & Paula, “Young Lovers” This was the follow-up to their earlier hit “Hey Paula,” and reached #6 on the Hot 100. Paul and Paula were actually Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson, who changed their stage names to match their hit song.
  2. Skeeter Davis, “End of The World” Skeeter, a country singer, had a few crossover hits, and this was especially successful for her, reaching #2 on the Hot 100 and the Country chart, #1 on the AC chart, and surprisingly #4 on the R&B chart, making her the first white female to reach the Top 10 there. Italso sold a million copies and was certified gold. By the way, the man on the left introducing her is Stringbean.
  3. Gene Pitney, “Mecca” Gene was still pretty popular in the US when this came out, and it reached #12 nationally. It was a #2 hit in Canada and a #7 in Australia.
  4. Bobby Vinton, “Over the Mountain Across the Sea” This song was like the “calm before the storm,” as it preceded his big hits “Blue Velvet” and “There, I’ve Said It Again.” This reached #8 on the AC chart and #21 on the Hot 100. Ironically, his Wikipedia entry starts with the statement “Not to be confused with Bobby Vee,” who’s also on this week’s chart.
  5. The Cookies, “Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad (About My Baby) The Cookies had an earlier hit with “Chains,” covered by The Beatles on their first album. This did even better, reaching #3 on the R&B chart and #7 on the Hot 100. Members of The Cookies later became The Raelettes, Ray Charles’s backup singers.
  6. Peter, Paul & Mary, “Puff, The Magic Dragon” Their follow-up to “If I Had A Hammer,” it was immediately suspected of being a song about smoking dope. The lyrics were written by Leonard Lipton, who based his poem on Ogden Nash’s “Custard The Dragon.” Peter Yarrow found the poem and set it to music. This reached #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the AC chart.
  7. The Chiffons, “He’s So Fine” The song at the center of a lawsuit against George Harrison, whose “My Sweet Lord” was found to be a direct ripoff of the tune. And yeah, it’s pretty much the same. The Chiffons spent four weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 with this.
  8. Richard Chamberlain, “All I Have To Do Is Dream” In the midst of his successful run as Dr. Kildare on the show of that name, Chamberlain recorded several hit records, including this cover of a Felice and Boudleaux Bryant/Everly Brothers hit. It reached #14 nationally.
  9. Little Peggy March, “I Will Follow Him” The song that kept “Puff, The Magic Dragon” out of the #1 slot nationally. If you’ve ever seen the movie Sister Act, you never hear this song the same way again.
  10. Bobby Vee, “Charms” Not to be confused with Bobby Vinton or contemporary singer Bobby V., Bobby Vee rose to fame after “The Day The Music Died,” replacing Buddy Holly in The Crickets. He had 38 Hot 100 singles, including ten Top 10 hits and six gold records. This only reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the AC chart (and obviously didn’t receive a gold record). It’s a good song nonetheless.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for September 27, 2019.

The Friday 5×2: KGB (1360 AM, San Diego, CA), 10/18/63

Found this survey on the Boss Sound Surveys blog, which seems to be more or less dormant. It caught my eye because of the callsign (“KGB… radio listens to you!), but it’s a pretty interesting station. Now KLSD, they’re the longest-licensed station in San Diego, going on the air in 1922. They did Top 40 radio from the early ’60’s to 1982, when they changed to all news. And, they also call their weekly survey the “Silver Dollar Survey.” Here’s their Top 10 (which includes two double-A side records) for October 18, 1963.

  1. The Drifters, “I’ll Take You Home” This only reached #25 nationally (#24 on the R&B chart), but San Diego seemed to like it. They had most of their 1963 success with “On Broadway.”
  2. Nino Tempo & April Stevens, “Deep Purple” Nino and April were brother and sister who had a string of hits. This went to #1 on the Hot 100 and AC charts and won the Grammy for the Best Rock & Roll Record of the Year. Twelve years later, another brother and sister act, Donny & Marie Osmond, took this to #14.
  3. The Miracles, “Mickey’s Monkey” Smokey Robinson and crew were still calling themselves The Miracles when they took this to #8 (#3 on the R&B chart).
  4. Garnett Mimms & The Enchanters, “Cry Baby” I didn’t recognize this song by name, but when I played it I remembered it well. This is their first record and the only one to reach the Top 10 on the Hot 100 and the R&B chart.
  5. Ray Charles, “Busted”/”Making Believe” One of our two double-A side hits. I always admired Ray for the fact that he could do both soul and country, and on this record, he does. “Busted” reached #4 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart, while “Making Believe” only made it to #102 nationally.
  6. Sunny & The Sunglows, “Talk To Me” A Chicano band out of San Antonio, Texas, this is a cover of Little Willie John’s 1958 hit, which was recommended by the owner of Tear Drop Records, Huey P. Meaux. It reached #11 on the Hot 100, #4 on the AC chart, and #12 on the R&B chart.
  7. Los Indios Tabajaras, “Maria Elena” Antenor and Natalicio Lima were brothers from Ceara, Brazil who formed a guitar duo, often performing in ceremonial Indian costumes. They became popular throughout Latin America, with “Maria Elena” becoming an international hit, reaching #6 on the Hot 100 and earning a gold record.
  8. Roy Orbison, “Blue Bayou”/”Mean Woman Blues” Our other double-A sided hit is from Roy Orbison. I hate to admit it, but I like Linda Ronstadt’s cover of “Blue Bayou” better; nevertheless, it’s a beautiful song and well-suited to Roy’s voice, as is “Mean Woman Blues.” The record did much better outside the US, reaching #1 in Australia and #3 in the UK. In the US, it only rose to #29.
  9. The Ronettes, “Be My Baby” Their first record on Phil Spector’s Phillies Records reached #2 in the US and #4 in the UK. Only Ronnie (not yet married to Phil) sings here; Phil doubletracked the background vocals.
  10. Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs, “Sugar Shack” Keith McCormack wrote this song and gave partial credit to his aunt, Fay Voss, because she told him that “those tight pants girls wear” were leotards. Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs had a huge hit with it, spending several weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and on the Cash Box 100. It was the #1 record for 1963.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for September 6, 2019.

The Friday 5×2: WLS, 7/12/63

I’ve been out of it all week. Guess it’s the Dog Days of Summer that’s got me down, or whatever. I know I usually have this out much earlier, but it’s been one of those weeks…

Anyway, I’m wondering how much longer I can keep this up. My sources for surveys are drying up and from week-to-week I’m turning up the same lineup of songs. Noticing I hadn’t done much with 1963, I checked Oldiesloon and just happened to find that WLS had issued a survey on this day in 1963, so here you go.

  1. Johnny Cash, “Ring Of Fire” His classic song, written by June Carter (later June Carter Cash) and originally done by June’s sister Anita. No, it was never used for a Preparation H commercial, but it should have been.
  2. The Classics, “Till Then” It’s the old story of four guys from Brooklyn getting together and singing doo-wop. Nonetheless, a great song.
  3. Ricky Nelson, “Gypsy Woman” Not the same song as The Impressions did and Brian Hyland covered, but a good one nevertheless. Ricky looked good and sang great, and had the good fortune to appear on TV every week and to have James Burton backing him on guitar.
  4. Kyu Sakamoto, “Sukiyaki” A beautiful song about a young man walking through the rain, keeping his head up so no one can see he’s crying, and nothing to do with dinner.
  5. Bobby Vinton, “Blue On Blue” Bobby did a lot of songs with blue in the title, did you ever notice?
  6. Rolf Harris, “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” I was just talking about Australia yesterday, wasn’t I? Rolf played the wobble-board, a sheet of plywood that made that “whoop-whoop” sound when shaken.
  7. The Tymes, “So In Love” I never knew the name of the song or the group who did it, but I’ve always liked it. It’s a real beauty, isn’t it? The Tymes were a singing group from Philadelphia, in case you were wondering.
  8. The Beach Boys, “Shut Down” A short (under two minutes) song about a Chevy Stingray chasing a Dodge Dart. They didn’t do too many car songs, particularly when compared to the number of surfing songs, but they did them well.
  9. The Essex, “Easier Said Than Done” To date, the only Top 40 hit done by four active-duty Marines (Semper Fi!), which explains the dress blues in the picture. Being on active duty prevented them from touring much in support of their songs, as you can imagine.
  10. Jan & Dean, “Surf City” Notice this week that the group best known for their songs about surfing is in the Top 10 with a song about cars, while the group best known for its songs about cars charted with a song about surfing. Gotta love it.

And that’s the Friday 5×2 for July 12, 2019.

The Friday 5×2: WMEX (1510 AM, Boston MA), 1963

Today we visit WMEX, which is currently simulcasting WATD-FM (Marshfield, MA) with plans at some point to broadcast oldies and local sports to the South Boston area. The station has a long and convoluted past, which you can read here. Today, we look back at 1963, when they were a Top 40 station, to see what their Top 10 looked like.

  1. Jimmy Soul, “If You Wanna Be Happy” Jimmy Soul, a gospel singer from the age of seven, was discovered by Frank Guida, who had also discovered Gary “U.S.” Bonds. This song was originally offered to Bonds, but he turned it down. Jimmy eventually took it to #1 nationally.
  2. Connie Francis, “Follow The Boys” Theme song from the movie of that name that starred Connie and Paula Prentiss. It peaked at #17 on the Hot 100 and at #7 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
  3. Dee Dee Sharp, “Do The Bird” Wikipedia tells us that Dee Dee claims she was set to marry boxer Cassius Clay before he converted to Islam. Title track from her 1963 album, it reached #10 on the Hot 100 and #8 on the R&B chart.
  4. Richard Chamberlain, “All I Have To Do Is Dream” Richard Chamberlain was something of a teen idol thanks to his role on Dr. Kildare, so of course he had to record an album, 1962’s Richard Chamberlain Sings. This peaked at #14 nationally.
  5. The Cookies, “Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad (About My Baby)” The Cookies started out as backup singers for a number of Atlantic Recordss artists, including Ray Charles, and members of the original lineup became the Raelettes, Charles’ backup group. This was their highest-charting single, reaching #7 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart.
  6. Jan & Dean, “Linda” “Linda” was written by Jack Lawrence in 1942 in honor of the one-year-old daughter of his attorney, Lee Eastman. Linda Eastman, of course, later married Paul McCartney, and the rest is history. Jan & Dean, looking for their first #1 hit, were only able to take this to #28. Their next single, “Surf City,” did much better.
  7. Dion, “Sandy” From his 1963 album Dion Sings To Sandy, this reached #21 nationally.
  8. Roy Orbison, “In Dreams” I’ve noticed that Roy is particularly well-liked among my readers. He gives that gorgeous voice a workout on this song, which reached #7 nationally. It was later the title track for his 1986 compilation album In Dreams: The Greatest Hits. Sales of that album were helped by the song’s use in David Lynch’s film Blue Velvet.
  9. The Chiffons, “He’s So Fine” The song at the center of a lawsuit filed by its authors against George Harrison, who they claimed plagiarized the song to write his 1971 hit “My Sweet Lord.” The Chiffons had a #1 hit with this song.
  10. Skeeter Davis, “End Of The World” One of the first women to achieve success as a singer in country music, Skeeter Davis (born Mary Frances Penick) influenced later country music stars such as Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton. She also had some success as a crossover artist, this song being her biggest success. While this reached #2 on the Hot 100 and Country charts, it topped the Adult Contemporary chart and, surprisingly, reached #4 on the R&B chart.

And that’s your Friday 5×2 for March 8, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: The #40’s Of 1963

Continuing my #40 series, here are the #40 songs on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey for the last Friday of each month. This week, 1963.

  • January 25: The Matys Bros., “Who Stole The Keeshka?” A polka, because polkas were always popular in Chicago. You’ll note the phonetic spelling of the word kishka… This spent five weeks on the survey, peaking at #17.
  • February 22: Marvin Gaye, “Hitchhike” Marvin was still gaining traction when this was released. It peaked the following week at #36 before dropping off the survey.
  • March 29: Bobby Vinton, “Over The Mountain (Across The Sea)” Some schmaltz from Bobby Vinton, and don’t you love it? Spent five weeks on the survey, peaking at #19.
  • April 26: Etta James, “Pushover” I’m surprised this didn’t take off better than it did. Spent four weeks on the survey, peaking at #28.
  • May 31: Fats Domino, “There Goes My Heart Again” Considering this song only reached #59 nationally, Fats did all right in Chicago. Spent three weeks on the survey, peaking at #35.
  • June 28: Al Casey, “Surfin’ Hootenanny” Both surfing and hootenannies were popular in 1963, so Al figured that if you put them together, they’d be a big hit. Try again, Al. Nevertheless, it reached #27 after five weeks on the survey.
  • July 26: The Cookies, “Will Power” A Gerry Goffin-Carole King song; The Cookies did several of their songs, including “Chains,” later covered by The Beatles. Peaked at #34 in its second week, also its last.
  • August 30: Kelly Garrett, “Tommy Makes Girls Cry” This entered the survey at #36, because the four songs occupying #37-40 (Sam Cooke’s “Frankie and Johnny,” The Miracles’ “Mickey’s Monkey,” Kyu Sakamoto’s “China Nights” (at least they didn’t rename it “Tempura” or “Yakitori”), and Gene Chandler’s “Man’s Temptation”) were on their way down from higher positions, so I decided to feature this instead. It fell to #40 the following week and spent two more weeks on the survey, peaking at #23.
  • September 27: The Orlons, “Crossfire” This rockin’ little number spent four weeks on the survey and also peaked at #23.
  • October 25: The Allisons, “Surfer Street” This is all Wikipedia had to say aout The Allisons: “The Allisons were an American girl group who had a minor hit with the song ‘Surfer Street.’ This song was released on Tip Records and charted for one week in December 1963, in the number 93 position. The song capitalized on the popularity of early 1960’s surfing culture.” It spent three weeks on the chart at WLS, peaking at #32.
  • November 29: Jan and Dean, “Drag City” This was the one success story for 1963 as far as #40’s go. It spent ten weeks on the chart and reached #1 for a week in January.
  • December 27: The Cookies, “Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys” Finally, we have this little gem which was written by Gerry Goffin and Jack Keller. It spent five weeks on the chart and peaked at #31.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for February 11, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.