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.
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.”
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.
Neil Diamond, “I Am…I Said” A song that reached #4 nationally, #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #3 in Canada.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.”
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!
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.
I was going to run down Wacker Drive to Marina City and talk about the Top 10 for 1968 according to WCFL, Chicago’s other AM Top 40 station at the time, but when I got there, I discovered that there wasn’t a whole lot of difference, as you can see from the table
The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, “Fire”
Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”
Mary Hopkin, “Those Were The Days”
Ohio Express, “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy”
Herb Alpert, “This Guy’s In Love With You”
Jeannie C. Riley, “Harper Valley PTA”
Bobby Goldsboro, “Honey”
Paul Mauriat, “Love Is Blue (L’amour Est Bleu)”
The Beatles, “Hey Jude”/”Revolution”
Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to share #11-20 on the WLS list, along with their position on the WCFL list in parentheses. Since the WCFL list is only the Top 30 for their year, if a record didn’t place in their top 30, it’ll be noted as “#–“.
#20 (#–): John Fred & The Playboy Band, “Judy In Disguise” The first time John Fred Gourrier heard The Beatles’s “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” he though it was “Lucy In Disguise With Diamonds.” That inspired this song, which was a #1 hit during the year. It was their only song to break into the Top 40.
#19 (#23): The Lemon Pipers, “Green Tambourine” Another one-hit wonder, this song is considered the first “bubblegum” song. The Lemon Pipers took it to #1 in the US and Canada and had similar luck in Australia (#2), New Zealand (#3) and the UK (#7).
#18 (#20): The Rascals, “People Got To Be Free” The Rascals, known as The Young Rascals until 1968, scored a #1 with this, their second Top 10 record in ’68. It was also their last appearance in the Top 20.
#17 (#15): Simon & Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson” Included in the soundtrack for The Graduate (1967) starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, and from their fourth album Bookends (1968), this was a #1 hit for them and was the first rock song to win the Grammy for Song of the Year (1969).
#16 (#29): The Beatles, “Lady Madonna” Their last song to be released on Parlophone (UK) and Capitol (US), it was recorded before the band left for India. It went to #4 in the US and #1 in the UK.
#15 (#–): The American Breed, “Bend Me, Shape Me” The Chicago-based band that ultimately became Rufus reached #5 in the US and #7 in Canada, the only time they reached the Top 20, making them not quite one-hit wonders.
#14 (#12): Tommy James & The Shondells, “Mony Mony” The song was inspired by the Mutual of New York (MONY) sign outside Tommy James’s apartment in New York. It reached #1 in the UK, #3 in the US, and #1 on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey.
#13 (#14): Diana Ross & The Supremes, “Love Child” Title track from their 1968 album, after Diana Ross received top billing and replaced Florence Ballard with Cindy Birdsong. It took just two weeks to reach the Billboard Top 10 and was the song that supplanted “Hey Jude” from the #1 spot.
#12 (#13): The Monkees, “Valleri” Yes, that’s the way it’s spelled. A song by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, they wrote it as they were on their way to see Don Kirschner, who they had told that it was done. Session musicians included Louie Shelton, who played the flamenco-esque solo at the beginning.
#11 (#24): Hugh Masakela, “Grazing In The Grass” Hugh is known as “The Father of South African Jazz.” This is also a one-hit wonder, as he took this to #1.
Starting in 1967, WLS Radio produced a year-end survey, listing the top 89 records from the previous year (since WLS called itself “The Big 89”). Since 1968 is 50 years ago, I thought we might look at their list from that year. I considered building a playlist with all 89 songs on it, but reasoned that no one would bother listening to it, so I kept it at the Top 10, or as you’ll see later, the Top 11 (there was a tie for the #1 spot, but both songs were on one record). You can see the full list here, courtesy of Oldiesloon.
The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” It still surprises me that this song is as old as it is. It sounds like one of their songs from the ’70’s. This came in at #50 on the Hot 100 for 1968, so you can see that musical tastes in Chicago were a whole lot different than the rest of the country.
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, “Fire” Parents hated this song, at least my mom did. Naturally, that’s why I liked it. Ended the year at #39 nationwide.
Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through The Gravpevine” Marvin’s first #1 record on the Hot 100 as well as the R&B chart and in the UK, it nonetheless failed to chart on the yearend Hot 100 in 1968 and only got to #88 on the 1969 yearend chart.
Mary Hopkin, “Those Were The Days” One of the first artists to be signed to Apple Records, Mary was produced by Paul McCartney, who had her record one of his songs from the Magical Mystery Tour album. It reached #1 in the UK, Germany and Switzerland as well as on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, but was kept out of the #1 spot on the Hot 100 by The Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” It reached #30 on the yearend Hot 100.
Ohio Express, “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” 1968 was the year when bubblegum music had its big breakout, subjecting us to the 1910 Fruitgum Company and Ohio Express. It came in at #38 on the yearend Hot 100.
Herb Alpert, “This Guy’s In Love With You” This easy listening tune reached #7 on the yearend Hot 100, marking the first time in this list WLS and Billboard came close to one another.
Jeannie C. Riley, “Harper Valley PTA” There was still room on the pop charts for country music crossovers in 1968. Jeannie C. Riley’s song about hypocrisy in a small town serves as a reminder about people in glass houses not throwing stones, and led to a short-lived TV series starring the lovely and talented Barbara Eden. Billboard had this finishing the year at #11.
Bobby Goldsboro, “Honey” The top 3 positions on the WLS Big 89 and the yearend Hot 100 agree, starting with this song about love and loss. I could say much more, but I won’t, other than to say that I kind of like it.
Paul Mauriat, “Love Is Blue (L’amour Est Bleu)” This song, with lyrics in French, was Luxembourg’s entry into the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest, where it was sung by Greek singer Vicky Leandros (appearing as simply “Vicky”) and placed fourth. French orchestra leader Paul Mauriat recorded this instrumental version and it became the only record recorded by a French artist to reach #1 on the Hot 100.
The Beatles, “Hey Jude”/”Revolution” Maybe the only song by The Fab Four that I really dislike nevertheless had an amazing year in 1968, and in Chicago its flip side was almost as popular. In the list, the latter precedes the former, so you can cut out during the “na na na nanana na”s.
And that’s The Friday 5×2 for December 28, 2018. If I don’t see you before then, Happy New Year!
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 went back and forth with what I wanted to do today as far as M4, and finally I decided to go with the old tried-and-true survey post. So, I spun the wheel and came up with 1977 (sorry, there’s disco) at WLS, by then heavily into their “Musicradio” phase. Let’s see what Larry Lujack was playing on this date in 1977.