The Friday 5×2: WAEB, 790 AM Allentown, PA, Top 10 For 1971

It’s always fun to look at the Top 100 hits for an entire year. In the heyday of Top 40 in the ’60’s and ’70’s, practically every station in the country would produce a composite list of the top hits they had played that year. Usually it was 100, although sometimes the station would try to work something unique into the year-end list (for example, WLS in Chicago called itself the “Big 89” because they were at 890 AM, so they’d come up with the top 89 hits).

I found a year-end list from WAEB in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania (their survey says that the AEB stands for “Allentown, Easton, and Bethlehem,” the three largest towns in that part of the country) from 1971. Comparing that list to the year-end Hot 100, there were some similarities, but, as was usually the case, many more differences. Here is WAEB’s year-end Top 10 for 1971.

  1. Murray Head, “Superstar” from Jesus Christ, Superstar, which had been released in September 1970. Nationally, the song ended the year at #26. Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Knock Three Times” was the yearend #10 nationally.
  2. Joan Baez, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” Joan’s cover of The Band’s song was #9 in the Lehigh Valley, but only #20 nationwide, where The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination” was #9.
  3. Isaac Hayes, “Theme From Shaft This bad mother ended the year in Allentown much higher than nationally (#89). Billboard had John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” at #8.
  4. Cher, “Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves” Cher did much better in the valley than she did everywhere else: this came in at #39 nationally. 14-year-old Donny Osmond’s cover of Steve Lawrence’s “Go Away, Little Girl” was Billboard‘s #7.
  5. Five Man Electrical Band, “Signs” I never understood the appeal of this song. Everyone seemed to like it better than I did. Certainly WAEB’s listeners liked it better than the rest of the country, where it placed at #24. Who came in at #6 nationally?
  6. Paul Revere & The Raiders, “Indian Reservation” That’s who. The Bee Gees, in their pre-disco days (it was pre-disco for everyone, come to think of it), with “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” were #5 nationally.
  7. The Osmonds, “One Bad Apple” I think was done by the original five while little bro Jimmy and the lovely Marie sat on the sidelines. From this point forward, WAEB and Billboard agree.
  8. Carole King, “It’s Too Late” From Carole’s Tapestry album, which achieved RIAA’s Diamond status for having sold 10 million copies in the US and 25 million copies worldwide. That’s a hell of a lot of vinyl.
  9. Rod Stewart, “Maggie May” Rod the Mod had moved on from his days with The Jeff Beck Group and was fronting the band Faces (formerly The Small Faces), where he hit the big time with his album Every Picture Tells A Story, which ultimately went Platinum.
  10. Three Dog Night, “Joy To The World” It would figure that my least-favorite Three Dog Night song would prove to be their all-time best-seller. Hoyt Axton (my birthday twin) wrote the song to demonstrate the melody (Jeremiah was originally a prophet), and when the song was offered to Three Dog Night, Danny Hutton and Cory Wells said “no way.” Chuck Negron was able to convince the others to do it anyway. And the rest, as they say, is history.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for October 25, 2019.

The Friday 5×2: KHJ (930 AM Los Angeles CA), 8/11/71

It’s been several years since we visited KHJ in Los Angeles, so let’s see what was on top of their survey in 1971.

  1. Elvis Presley, “I’m Leavin'” I don’t really remember this one, probably because it only reached #36 nationally and WLS and WCFL probably said “nah…”
  2. John Denver, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” West Virginia’s license plates carry the motto “Almost Heaven” (or did, anyway) because of this song, which is now one of their anthems. One of Denver’s best-known and loved songs, it only reached #2 nationally. Wonder what kept it it of the top spot?
  3. Chicago, “Beginnings” A shortened version from their first album which eliminates the horn solos and two-minute Latin percussion jam at the end. I never liked this version because of that, but now I think I understand. Was released originally in 1969, but didn’t chart, and released again in 1971, when it reached #7 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the AC chart.
  4. Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Sweet Hitch-Hiker” From their oft-maligned 1972 album Mardi Gras, recorded after Tom Fogerty had had enough of his brother. Reached #6 on the Hot 100.
  5. Gladys Knight & The Pips, “I Don’t Want To Do Wrong” Title track from their 1972 album, it reached #17 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart.
  6. The Doors, “Riders On The Storm” Another song that was shortened from its album version to fit AM radio; the shortening here was a little more artfully done. Released just before Jim Morrison died in July 1971, it reached #17 nationally.
  7. Five Man Electrical Band, “Signs” I never understood the appeal of this song, but obviously I’m in the minority, as it reached #3 in the US and #4 in the 5MEB’s native Canada. Long live meaningfulness and relevance!
  8. Three Dog Night, “Liar” Written by Russ Ballard of Argent, it was 3DN’s first single, but failed to chart. They recorded it again for their album Naturally and released it again in 1971 and it reached #7.
  9. Marvin Gaye, “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” Marvin’s “poignant anthem of sorrow over the environment” (per Wikipedia), it reached #4 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart.
  10. Jean Knight, “Mister Big Stuff” Jean’s one and only hit, reaching #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart. Too bad, too.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for August 9, 2019.

The Friday 5×2: WLS On This Day In 1971

Thought it might be good to take a trip home to Chicago and examine the Top 10 from WLS, “The Big 89” in Chicago. Thanks to my friends at Oldiesloon for this survey.

  1. Tony Orlando & Dawn, “I Play And Sing” Not a song I remember that well. It reached #25 on the Hot 100 and #15 on the Adult Contemporary chart, nowhere near as well as “Candida” and “Knock Three Times.” In fact, they wouldn’t have another Top 10 hit until “Tie A Yellow Ribbon.”
  2. The Doors, “Love Her Madly” The Doors’ last hit before Jim Morrison’s untimely death in July, it reached #11 nationally and #3 in Canada.
  3. Neil Diamond, “I Am…I Said” A song that reached #4 nationally, #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #3 in Canada.
  4. Daddy Dewdrop, “Chick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Just Love It)” In real life, songwriter Dick Monda, this is the only record that charted of the ten or so he released, reaching #9 on the Hot 100.
  5. The Bells, “Stay Awhile” Another one-hit wonder in the US was this band from Montreal for whom this song was their only chart success. They had several more Top 10 hits in Canada. This was sung by band members Cliff Edwards and Jackie Ralph, who just happens to be Edwards’s sister-in-law.
  6. Ocean, “Put Your Hand In The Hand” Another Canadian band, this one a gospel-rock band from Toronto. This reached #2 o the pop chart and #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Quite a contrast with the previous song, I think…
  7. The Jackson 5, “Never Can Say Goodbye” My favorite Jackson 5 song, it was written by Clifton Davis, who you might remember from his TV roles in That’s My Mama and Amen. It went to #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart.
  8. Lobo, “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” This was the first single and first hit for Kent LaVoie, aka Lobo. It peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and did especially well in New Zealand, reaching #1 there as well. Lobo found chart success two more times the following year with “I’d Love You To Want Me” and “Don’t Expect Me To Be Your Friend.”
  9. Bread, “If” I had Bread’s first album, 1970’s On The Water, and can attest to the fact that they could rock pretty well, but they were best known for love ballads like this one. “If” reached #4 in the US and #1 on the AC chart, and was a surprise #1 hit in the UK for Telly “Kojak” Savalas. Coochie-coo, baby!
  10. Three Dog Night, “Joy To The World” Not my favorite 3DN hit, but I think I’m in the minority. It was their second #1 hit in the US and also reached #1 in Canada and South Africa.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for April 26, 2019.

The Friday 5×2: A Baker’s Dozen of One-Hit Wonders from 1971

Usually, I get these finished and leave them in the queue by about midweek, but I stopped before I got this done, figuring “I’ll do it Thursday.” Well, aquatic therapy left me so tired and sore I didn’t feel like writing yesterday, so I’m just working on this today. I have a Pocket queue full of posts to comment on, too. I’ll get to everything, promise.

Anyway, today I’d like to look at the thirteen one-hit wonders from 1971, which was a significant year for me for many reasons. I was going to stop at ten, but there were three songs I really didn’t want to do but thought I should, so I added them. Ergo, thirteen. Cathy Kennedy covered the #1’s from the early Seventies; these are the #2-#10’s.

  1. The Free Movement, “I’ve Found Someone Of My Own” This song was on the charts for twenty-four weeks, peaking at #5 on brother Kip’s 13th birthday (November 13, 1971). The Free Movement were a Los Angeles-based sextet that, soon after this record (on Decca Records) became a hit, signed with Columbia Records and recorded a full album, but would never again know the success they had with this one. Too bad, too: they were pretty smooth.
  2. The Undisputed Truth, “Smiling Faces Sometimes” This record peaked at #3 on September 4, 1971. This was a trio assembled by Norman Whitfield of Motown Records so he could practice his “psychedelic soul” production techniques. They had a few more hits on the R&B charts through the early Seventies.
  3. Jean Knight, “Mr. Big Stuff” Peaked at #2 on August 14. Jean, born Jean Caliste in New Orleans, recorded this for Memphis’s Stax Records, another great R&B label, and had another Top 40 single on the R&B chart (“You Think You’re Hot Stuff,” that peaked at #19 later in ’71).
  4. Daddy Dewdrop, “Chick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)” Peaked at #9 on May 8. Songwriter Richard (Dick) Monda went undercover as Daddy Dewdrop to record this one, and probably wishes he had stayed undercover.
  5. The Bells, “Stay Awhile” Reached #7 on May 1. The Bells were from Montreal and had some success in Canada, but this is their one song that crossed the border.
  6. Ocean, “Put Your Hand In The Hand” Reached #2 on May 1. Gospel rockers Ocean were a Canadian band whose first album, recorded on the Yorkville label, was picked up by Kama Sutra Records, which, if you think about it, is somewhat incongruous.
  7. Brewer & Shipley, “One Toke Over The Line” Peaked at #10 on April 10. Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley had a pretty impressive catalog of folk-rock and country-rock songs, and evidently are still together performing. They charted again with “Tarkio Road” which never reached the Top 40.
  8. Sammi Smith, “Help Me Make It Through The Night” Peaked at #8 on March 27. Sammi was a country singer who had several other hits on the country charts, but just the one crossover hit.
  9. Wadsworth Mansion, “Sweet Mary” Peaked at #7on February 27. Wadsworth Mansion, also known as Wadsworth Family Mansion, were from Providence, Rhode Island that released two other singles after this, neither of which cracked the Hot 100, but they stayed together until 1982.
  10. Lynn Anderson, “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden” Peaked at #3 on February 13. Ms. Anderson was another popular country singer with a number of hits on that chart, but this was her one crossover hit.
  11. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “Mr. Bojangles” Peaked at #9 on February 20. The NGDB has been around in one form or another for over 50 years, and is probably best known for their two Will The Circle Be Unbroken albums. This is a cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s song; my favorite cover is Sammy Davis Jr.’s.
  12. Tom Clay, “What The World Needs Now Is Love (Abraham, Martin and John)” Peaked at #8 on August 14. Tom Clay was a radio personality who took the two songs and added clips from speeches by Martin Luther King and John and Robert Kennedy.
  13. Les Crane, “Desiderata” Peaked at #8 on December 4. Crane was a radio announcer and TV show host who was once married to Tina Louise of Gilligan’s Island fame.

And that’s your Friday 5×2 (plus three) for November 17, 2017.

WCFL’s Top Ten, June 24, 1971


There’s a cryptic theme for this week’s Thursday Ten. Why June 24, 1971?

One day in late 1970 or early 1971, my mother decided she wanted to buy a house in the suburbs. She found one in April 1971, closed on it at the end of May, and we moved in the last Saturday in June. So, this is the Top Ten at WCFL the day we moved. I’ve done surveys from WLS before, let’s give the other Chicago station a chance. For each song, I’ll indicate what the song’s position was at WLS to show you that there was a difference.

#10: “You’ve Got A Friend,” James Taylor (#6 at WLS on 6/28/71)

#9: “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling,” The Fortunes (#5)

#8: “Here Comes The Sun,” Richie Havens (not on WLS’s chart that week)

#7: “Nathan Jones,” The Supremes (#3)

#6: “Want Ads,” The Honey Cone (#16)

#5: “Don’t Knock My Love,” Wilson Pickett (#11)

#4: “Double Lovin’,” The Osmonds (#20)

#3: “If Not For You,” Olivia Newton-John (#2)

#2: “Rainy Days and Mondays,” Carpenters (#9)

#1: “It’s Too Late,” Carole King (#1)

Here are the surveys for both WLS and WCFL. I’m not sure how to explain the differences in surveys for two Top 40 stations in the same market that were less than two blocks apart; payola, maybe?

Thanks to Oldies Loon for all the work they’ve done to get the surveys out there, and of course to the nice folks who uploaded these songs to YouTube.

In any event, there’s your Thursday Ten for August 13, 2015.