The Friday 5×2: WCFL, 12/1/73

We did WLS last week, so let’s look at their rivals down Wacker Drive in Marina City. WCFL didn’t start in the rock ‘n’ roll business until late 1965 and got out of it in March 1976, when they went to “beautiful music”. Currently they’re sports-talk station WMVP. The competition between the two stations was pretty fierce during my later grammar school and high school days, but the Chicago Federation of Labor (the CFL in WCFL) had had enough of the Top 40 format and took the station as far from it as they could. Anyway, here’s the “Super CFL Survey” from December 1, 1973.

  1. The DeFranco Family, “Heartbeat, It’s A Love Beat” Because there was always room for one more “family” band. The focus was all on 14-year-old Tony, who was a cover boy for Tiger Beat and other tweenybopper magazines. This was their only national hit.
  2. Billy Preston, “Space Race” The followup to “Will It Go Round In Circles” had Billy reprising his 1971 hit “Outa-Space.” This reached #4 nationally.
  3. Gladys Knight & The Pips, “Midnight Train To Georgia” This had topped WCFL’s survey the week before, so this was a good-sized dropoff. Nevertheless, this was still gold for Gladys & The Pips.
  4. Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” Making almost as impressive a climb as Gladys and the boys had a drop was the title track from Sir Elton’s 1973 megahit album, which had been at #12 the week prior.
  5. Gilbert O’Sullivan, “Ooh Baby” This is a rockin’ little number that I don’t recall ever hearing. I probably did and promptly forgot it.
  6. Chicago, “Just You ‘n’ Me” From Chicago VI, this followup to “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” did much better nationally than its predecessor, even with the somewhat free-form soprano sax solo by Walter Parazaider toward the end. Maybe because of it.
  7. Carpenters, “Top Of The World” As I think I said back when I profiled Karen and Richard for my Two For Tuesday Series “High School Days,” just about anything they did in the early ’70’s was magic. This was their first national #1 since “Close To You.”
  8. Todd Rundgren, “Hello It’s Me” From his 1972 album Something/Anything?, this is a remake of a song Todd did back in his Nazz days that was almost a hit. This reached #5 nationwide.
  9. Jim Croce, “I Got A Name” Title track from his fifth and final studio album (released the day after his death), this went to #10 nationally.
  10. Ringo Starr, “Photograph” Ringo and his Beatle buddy George Harrison wrote this for his 1973 self-titled album. It rose to #1 on the Hot 100 but only to #8 in the UK.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for November 30, 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: One-Hit Wonders From 1973

This is the last “freebie” day for 2017, and I’m going to use it to continue my trip through the one-hit wonders of the 1970’s that didn’t reach #1 (Cathy did those). Today’s focus is on 1973. There are a dozen tunes in this list, and I’m sure that, for some of you, there is at least one of them that’s an EBS Special. Hey, that’s life. I won’t feel bad if you skip over those.

  1. Timmy Thomas, “Why Can’t We Live Together” Title track from Timmy’s 1972 album, this was released late that year and peaked in January 1973 at #3 on the Pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart. Shows what you can do with a Hammond organ and a drum machine. I understand the whole album was like this. He’s had better luck on the R&B chart over the years.
  2. Hurricane Smith, “Oh Babe, What Would You Say” Noman “Hurricane” Smith was a record engineer and producer who worked with The Beatles and Pink Floyd. He had some success in his native UK earlier, but this was his first song to reach the US, where it reached #1 on the Cash Box survey and #3 on the Hot 100.
  3. King Harvest, “Dancing In The Moonlight” King Harvest were four American expatriates who joined forces in Paris. This was the title track from their 1973 album, and it reached #13 on the Hot 100. I had a friend in college who sang this pretty much all the time.
  4. The Blue Ridge Rangers, “Jambalaya” I first heard this and thought, “Hey, that sounds like John Fogerty from CCR!” Turns out, it was John Fogerty, whon sang and played all the instruments on the eponymous 1972 album. This is the old Hank Williams tune, of course. This peaked at #16 on the Hot 100.
  5. Edward Bear, “Last Song” Edward Bear were a Canadian trio from the Toronto area who took their name from Winnie-The-Pooh, whose real name was Edward. (I had a bear named Egbert when I was a kid.) This song reached #3 on the Hot 100 and the Cash Box survey, #1 on the dult Contemporary and Canadian RPM charts.
  6. Deodato, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” Here’s one for Mark, who wanted to learn it when he first heard it. Eumir Deodato de Almeida is a Brazilian pianist, composer, and producer, primarily in jazz but adds in elements of pop, rock, bossa nova, disco, and classical. His arrangement of Richard Strauss’s music reached #2 in the US and wo him a Grammy in 1974.
  7. Loudon Wainwright III, “Dead Skunk” Here’s one for Kip, who liked it so much. (At least, I think he did.) Wainwright has released almost thirty studio albums over his almost 50-year career, but just has the one single, this one. He lists as his influences Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg. It was released in November 1972 and it peaked at #16 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the Cash Box survey in late March.
  8. Skylark, “Wildflower” Skylark is a band from Vancouver, BC that was active from 1971 to 1973. This song was on their eponymous 1972 release and peaked at #9 on the Hot 100, after which they broke up. Keyboardist David Foster went on to write the Love Theme for the 1985 movie St. Elmo’s Fire.
  9. Focus, “Hocus Pocus” Focus is a Dutch progressive rock band that has been around since 1969 in one form or another. This was from their second album, 1971’s Moving Waves, and featured keyboards and vocals by Thijs van Leer and guitarist Jan Akkerman. It reached #9 in the US and #20 in the UK.
  10. Manu Dibango, “Soul Makossa” Dibango is a Cameroonian jazz saxophonist. This was the title track from his 1972 album, and it made it all the way to #7.
  11. B. W. Stevenson, “My Maria” Louis Charles “B. W.” Stevenson (he said the B. W. stood for “Buck Wheat”) was a country pop artist from Dallas, Texas. He was supposed to be the first artist on the PBS series Austin City Limits, but the recording was bad and Willie Nelson was the pilot artist instead. “My Maria” reached #10 on the Hot 100 in September, and was his only pop hit. Sadly, B. W. died in 1988 while undergoing heart surgery to replace a valve. Brooks & Dunn had a hit with this in 1996.
  12. Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell, “Dueling Banjos” From the 1973 movie Deliverance, which I had to read in English. A friend of mine and I went to see the movie when it came out, and when I heard this song, I knew it was going to be all over the radio. This reached #2 in March 1973, so I was right. It also inspired a parody by Martin Mull, “Dueling Tubas”, which also found some chart success in 1973 and was itself a one-hit wonder.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for November 27, 2017.

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


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The Friday 5×2: Top Ten from WCFL On This Day In 1973

I had a tooth pulled on Wednesday, and while I’m in no pain (apart from the pain of having to eat on the other side of my mouth), I hadn’t given much thought to what I would do today. So I’m falling back on my old faithful, checking with my friends at Oldiesloon and doing a top ten from a survey that came out on this day in the past. This week, I’m looking at WCFL, “Super CFL” as they were called at the time, on this day in 1973. Across the river and down Wacker Drive, WLS also issued a survey on August 18. I’ll tell you what was in their top ten, so you can see the differences.

  • #10: Charlie Daniels, “Uneasy Rider” There are those who consider this a novelty song, but this was the first chart single for Charlie Daniels. WLS had this one at #8; their #10 was Deep Purple’s “Smoke On The Water.”
  • #9: Electric Light Orchestra, “Roll Over Beethoven” You’ll actually hear the album track here, because ELO is great and this cover of Chuck Berry’s tune is one of their best. It was at #16 on WLS (moving up from #25 the week before); their #9 was Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On, which had shot up from #19 the week before.
  • #8: Carpenters, “Yesterday Once More” A song that exemplifies Karen and Richard’s sound in the early Seventies. This stood at #13 at WLS, down from #10 the week before.
  • #7: Gilbert O’Sullivan, “Get Down” Gil wrote a song to get his dog to sit still and not jump all over him. How successful it was in getting the dog to stop, I don’t know, but the song was one of his minor hits. It was #6 at The Big 89, and Chicago’s “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” was at #7.
  • #6: Wings, “Live And Let Die” Theme song from the film that was Roger Moore’s debut as 007. Roger was too old to play James Bond by this time, but it did all right at the box office and the reviews were okayish. The song was at #4 on the Silver Dollar Survey.
  • #5: Diana Ross, “Touch Me In The Morning” Title track from Diana’s 1973 album that was her second #1 nationwide as a solo artist and 14th overall. Was at #3 at WLS, while Seals & Crofts’s “Diamond Girl” occupied the #5 spot.
  • #4: Chicago, “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” Last song on their sixth album and featured on their first TV special, Chicago In The Rockies.
  • #3: Seals & Crofts, “Diamond Girl” Title track from their 1973 album, and it was a slight excursion into jazz for these folk-rockers.
  • #2: Maureen McGovern, “The Morning After” The love theme from 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure, which had won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. Carol Lynley lip-synced it in the movie (Renee Armand did the actual singing), and Maureen McGovern covered it the following year. It was also the #2 song at WLS this week in 1973.
  • #1: Stories, “Brother Louie” This was #1 at both WLS and WCFL this week. It was done originally by the British R&B band Hot Chocolate earlier that year.

So there you have it, the top ten from the Big 10 Survey for this date in 1973. That’s the Friday 5×2 for August 18, 2017.

Top Five From WCFL On This Date In 1973

Another departure for the Rainbow Bridge today (our Devon Rex, Milton) means I’m feeling a little down, so if it seems like I’m mailing it in, I probably am.

One of my friends in ’73 was the son of the station manager at WCFL, so today’s survey is from that year.

#5: Three Dog Night, “Pieces Of April” Only reached #19 nationally, and I can’t remember hearing this one. This was their song between “Black And White” and “Shambala.”

#4: Jethro Tull, “Living In The Past” Title track from their 1972 compilation album, this originally appeared on 1969’s Stand Up.

#3: Billy Paul, “Me And Mrs. Jones” Billy was another victim of 2016, if you want to look at it that way. He died in April from pancreatic cancer at the age of 81. Love the way he smokes the cigar and sings at the same time.

#2: Timmy Thomas, “Why Can’t We Live Together” Title track from his 1972 album. It was just him, singing, playing organ and programming the drum machine.

#1: Carly Simon, “You’re So Vain” I don’t think Carly has ever really revealed who this song was about. I always heard Mick Jagger, but then I hear Warren Beatty, David Cassidy, and a host of others. She’s said it was about three different men, but hasn’t said who they are, and personally, I don’t care.

And there’s our Friday Five for January 20, 2017.