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.

The Friday 5×2: 2GB (Sydney, NSW) on December 7, 1963

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The Singing Nun, “Dominique” I’ve featured this one a number of times, so you should know the story behind it. ‘Nuff said.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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…
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Jimmy Little, “Royal Telephone” An Australian Aboriginal from Cummeragunja Mission, NSW, Jimmy Little reached #10 nationally in Australia with this.
  10. 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.

And that’s the Friday 5×2 for December 7, 2018.