“What, fifteen?” I hear you say. Let me explain: WGRD was at 1410 on the AM dial, which, if you remember those days, was right near the 14 the dial. So, they called their weekly survey “The Fabulous 14.” So, I decided to push it to 14 songs this week, and when I saw that their #1 was a two-sided hit, I threw in both songs.
Wikipedia tells us that WGRD was a daytime-only station (the call letters mean “Grand Rapids Daytime”) and that it was a popular Top 40 station in the ’50’s and ’60’s, but by 1971 the ratings were slipping, so they moved the Top 40 operation to FM and simulcasted on 1410. They’re now playing alternative music, having switched in 1995.
The Buckinghams, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” The Buckinghams were, of course, from Chicago, and were Al Kooper’s inspiation for Blood Sweat & Tears (or so they tell me). This hit #5 on both the Billboard and Cash Box surveys. In Grand Rapids, it was down from #10 the previous week.
Jon & Robin & The In Crowd, “Do It Again A Little Bit Slower” Jon Abdnor, Jr. and Javonne (Robin) Braga had just the one national hit, on Jon’s father’s record label, and had broken up by 1969. #5 the week before on ‘GRD.
Tommy James & The Shondells, “I Like The Way” This only reached #25 nationally, and didn’t get any airplay in Chicago, so this was new to me. #14 the previous week.
The Hollies, “Carrie Anne” Their followup to “On A Carousel,” this reached #9 nationally. Inched up from #12.
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood, “Jackson” Nancy’s partnership with Lee Hazlewood was brief, but it did produce this song, a cover of Johnny Cash and June Carter’s song. It reached #14 nationally.
Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, “Out & About” I always think of these two as songwriters primarily, but they did enjoy some chart success later in 1967 with “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight.” This only reached #39 nationally. In Grand Rapids, it stalled at #9.
Jefferson Airplane, “White Rabbit” I have fond memories of singing along with this at a Blue Man Group concert in Las Vegas. Down from #4 in Grand Rapids, it reached #8 nationally.
The Beatles, “All You Need Is Love” The Fab Four took to the airwaves internationally to preach this to the world, and it went to #1 internationally. Whether it made a difference still remains to be seen, but the song is a good one.
Herman’s Hermits, “Don’t Go Out In The Rain, You’re Going To Melt” Another one I don’t remember hearing in Chicago. It failed to reach the Top 10 nationally and was basically the end for Peter Noone and the boys.
Scott McKenzie, “San Francisco” It was the Summer of Love, after all. Reached #4 nationally, his only hit.
The Happenings, “My Mammy” The Happenings covered a lot of “music our parents liked,” and this cover of Al Jolson was a followup to their cover of the Gershwins’ “I Got Rhythm.” Did respectably well (#13), though I don’t remember it.
The Young Rascals, “A Girl Like You” Released two weeks before “Groovin’,” this one didn’t stand much of a chance. Still, it went to #16, and this is the first I’ve heard it.
The Doors, “Light My Fire” This is the version they did on The Ed Sullivan Show. Ed basically ordered them to come up with another line to replace “Girl, we couldn’t get much higher,” which Jim Morrison ignored, incurring Sullivan’s wrath. When informed that they’d never play The Ed Sullivan Show again, Morrison told them he didn’t care, he’d already done the show.
The Monkees, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”/”Words” Jumped all the way from #17 and knocked The Doors out of the #1 slot. That’s how popular The Monkees were in 1967.
Normally, I’d feature a survey that was issued on February 22, but this one spoke to me, so I hope you don’t mind me using a survey from February 25, 1967. It would be the last survey in February, so I think I’m in the clear. WSAI is now an affiliate of the Fox Sports Radio Network and airs all their programs as well as Cleveland Cavaliers basketball games, but they were a Top 40 station in 1967. Here, then, is their Top 10 (I’ll explain why there are 11 songs in a minute).
The Seekers, “Georgy Girl” This was the Australian folk quartet’s highest-charting single in the US, peaking at #2. Their previous hit was “I’ll Know I’ll Never Find Another You,” which you know if you’ve done a Marriage Encounter…
The Left Banke, “Pretty Ballerina” Their follow-up single to “Walk Away Renee” didn’t do as well as that did, peaking at #15 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the Cash Box chart, as well as #4 in Canada. This was the last charting single for this “baroque pop” quintet.
The Supremes, “Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone” Their third of four straight #1 singles. Later in ’67, they changed their name to “Diana Ross & The Supremes.”
The Beatles, “Strawberry Fields Forever”/”Penny Lane” This single was issued as having two A sides, as oppoesd to an A and a B side, where the B side is just along for the ride. In Chicago, WLS and WCFL both decided that “Penny Lane” would be the A side, but evidently WSAI went along with the “two A sides” approach.
Spencer Davis Group, “Gimme Some Lovin'” Shortly after releasing this, Stevie Winwood left to form the band Traffic, and later Blind Faith.
Gary & The Hornets, “There’s A Kind Of Hush” Cincinnati-based Gary and the Hornets were apparently an early “boy band” who had a bigger hit with this song than Herman’s Hermits did. The flip side of HH’s version of “Hush,” “No Milk Today,” was on the chart at #22.
The Rolling Stones, “Ruby Tuesday” Another double A side record with “Let’s Spend The Night Together” on the flip side, this was the hit in the US, peaking at #1.
The Royal Guardsmen, “The Return Of The Red Baron” The listening public hadn’t quite gotten tired of The Royal Guardsmen’s songs about Charlie Brown’s dog, although this only made it to #15 nationally.
Tommy James & The Shondells, “I Think We’re Alone Now” Title track from their 1967 album, it wasn’t the hit “Hanky Panky” was, but still reached #4 nationally. This was later a #1 hit for singer/mall rat Tiffany in 1988.
Ed Ames, “My Cup Runneth Over” Former lead singer of The Ames Brothers and expert tomahawk thrower Ed Ames reached #8 nationally but #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart with this. It’s arguably a beautiful song, which makes it seem a little out-of-place here.
In addition to using the Oldiesloon and ARSA sites to do these weekly survey posts, I also look through the posts on Pinterest, where a lot of folks have posted scans of surveys in their collection. I turned up this survey, from WLS for November 24, 1967:
I realize it’s a day off, but it was the day after Thanksgiving 1967 (“Black Friday” hadn’t been invented yet), so this is the perfect time for it. Here’s the Top 10.
Bobby Vee, “Beautiful People” It’s surprising that I don’t really have a clear recollection of many of the songs on the whole survey, and even a couple that were in the Top 10. This is one of them. It only reached #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #27 on the Cash Box Top 100. That happens sometimes.
The Four Seasons, “Watch The Flowers Grow” Another song I don’t recall. The world was still recuperating from The Summer of Love when this came out in October. This reached #30 on the Hot 100.
Cher, “You Better Sit Down, Kids” Written by Sonny, this was on her fourth studio album, ’67’s With Love, Cher. Sonny wrote the song from a man’s perspective, and Cher sang it as written. Peaked at #9 on Billboard and #8 on Cash Box.
Victor Lundberg, “An Open Letter To My Teenage Son” There were several spoken-word over music records that reached the Top 10 in the late ’60’s, and this was one of them. Lundberg was a DJ at WMAX radio in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and this was a local hit originally, then Liberty Records picked it up and issued it nationwide. In six weeks on the Hot 100, it went from #84 to #58, from there to #15, then on to #10, where it spent two weeks before falling to #22 before dropping off the survey entirely.
Robert Knight, “Everlasting Love” A song by Buzz Casoin and Mac Gayden, Knight took this to #13 nationwide in 1967. He re-released it in 1974 and it reached #19. Since then, this has been covered many times. It’s a beautiful song, I think
Bobby Vinton, “Please Love Me Forever” The pride of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania was the third person to have a hit with this, after Tommy Edwards (it was the flip side to “It’s All In The Game”) in 1958 and Cathy Jean and The Roommates in 1960. Bobby’s cover did the best, reaching #6 on the Hot 100, #5 on the Cash Box Top 100, and #1 in Canada.
Lulu, “To Sir With Love” Glaswegian Lulu was a popular singer and TV personality in the UK before making her way across the Atlantic. This was her only Top 10 hit in the US, reaching #1 on the Hot 100, although she had a minor hit with “Oh Me Oh My” two years later.
Strawberry Alarm Clock, “Incense and Peppermints” This was Strawberry Alarm Clock’s one big hit, reaching #1 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts. Their next single, 1968’s “Tomorrow,” peaked at #23 on Billboard and #19 on Cash Box, and that was it for them chart-wise. Nonetheless, they continue to perform.
The Cowsills, “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things” Some three million copies of this song have been sold since it first came out, and it tied with their 1969 hit “Hair” as the group’s most popular, with both songs reaching #2 in the US and #1 in Canada. This was originally named “The Flower Girl,” but they changed it so as not to be confused with Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco (Wear Flowers In Your Hair),” a huge hit that summer.
The Monkees, “Daydream Believer” Written by John Stewart of The Kingston Trio shortly before he departed that group, it had been offered to We Five (“You Were On My Mind”) and Spanky & Our Gang (“Like To Get To Know You”), both of whom turned it down. Davy Jones was reportedly “pissed off” about it, thinking the same thing. It turned out to be their fifth and last #1 hit, topping the Hot 100 for five weeks.
I just realized that this year looks just like 1967, except Easter is three weeks later this year, due to the way it’s calculated. Anyway, in 1967 we had just buried Dad (after a couple of weeks due to The Big Snow) and life was starting to get back to normal for us, whatever that meant. Here’s the Top Five from WLS fifty years ago today. Thanks again to Oldiesloon for collecting the surveys.
#5: New Colony Six, “I Love You So Much” Didn’t remember this one from Chicago’s own New Colony Six. This one was actually bigger in Canada than the US.
#4: Rolling Stones, “Ruby Tuesday” What more needs to be said about this classic from The Stones?
#3: The Seeds, “Pushin’ Too Hard” The Seeds were a band that did garage rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock and excelled in all three.
#2: The Seekers, “Georgy Girl” The Seekers were a band out of Australia whose lead singer was the lovely Judith Durham. Their earlier hit, “I Know I’ll Never Find Another You” is sung at every Marriage Encounter weekend. At least it was at ours.
#1: The Monkees, “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”/”I’m A Believer” This is one of those records that had two “A” sides, both fantastic songs. I’ve shared the story of how my brothers and I played the grooves off this one at a restaurant. We thought it was the best, and fifty years later, it still is one of the best.
And that’s The Friday Five for February 10, 1967 2017.