The Friday 5×2: WLS, Labor Day Weekend 1961

It’s Labor Day weekend in the United States and Labour Day weekend in Canada, so my idea was to pick a random year and look at the WLS survey for Labor Day weekend that year. The year I chose was 1961, and Labor Day was September 4 that year. Since WLS issued their Silver Dollar Survey on Saturdays back then, here’s the Top 10 from September 2.

  1. Gary “U.S.” Bonds, “School Is Out” Not for long, Gary… From his 1960 album Dance ‘Til Quarter To Three With U. S. Bonds, it reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the R&B chart.
  2. The Four Preps, “More Money For You And Me (Medley)” One of many “college” singing groups to come out of the folk music boom in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s, this was from their 1961 album The Four Preps On Campus. It reached #17 on the Hot 100, #4 on the AC chart, and #39 in the UK.
  3. Linda Scott, “Starlight, Starbright” The B side to her hit “Don’t Bet Money Honey,” which reached #9 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the AC chart. This reached #44 on its own.
  4. Curtis Lee, “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” Curtis benefitted from his association with Phil Spector and his “Wall Of Sound” with this song, which reached #7 on the Hot 100.
  5. Lonnie Donegan, “Does You Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour?” Skiffle guitarist Donegan had a big influence on The Beatles and other British Invasion groups, and was the first British musician to have more than one record reach the charts in the US. This song reached #3 in the UK in 1959 and #5 in the US two years later.
  6. Dick & Dee Dee, “The Mountain’s High” Richard Gosting (Dick) and Mary Sperling (Dee Dee) found their biggest success with this song (their first record), which reached #2 on the Hot 100 and #37 in the UK.
  7. Barry Mann, “Who Put The Bomp” Better known as a songwriter (with wife Cynthia Weil), Barry wrote this with Gerry Goffin as a way to make fun of the nonsense words in many doo-wop songs, and had a Top 40 hit anyway, peaking at #7.
  8. Brian Hyland, “Let Me Belong To You” Best known for “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and “Sealed With A Kiss,” this is his only Top 20 hit between the two, reaching #20.
  9. The Highwaymen, “Michael (Row The Boat Ashore)” Another “collegiate folk” group, they hit it big with this one, reaching #1 on the Hot 100 and AC charts and in the UK.
  10. Troy Shondell, “This Time” An international one-hit wonder (reaching #1 in the US and the UK), Troy nonetheless influenced young Tommy Jackson to rename his high school band from “Tom and The Tornados” to “The Shondells” (and himself to “Tommy James”). Around the same time, a band from Chicago named itself “The Shon-Dells” until they learned the name was taken, and renamed themselves “The Ides Of March.” As Paul Harvey would say, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for August 30, 2019. Have a good holiday weekend!

The Friday 5×2: WLS, 8/23/80

Thirty years ago today, WLS celebrated its last day as a Top 40 station, moving to a news-talk format. I wanted to get a survey from that day, but unfortunately they stopped issuing a weekly survey at the end of 1982. I did the next best thing today: here is their survey from August 23, 1980.

  1. Rocky Burnette, “Tired Of Toein’ The Line” Rocky is the son of Johnny (“You’re Sixteen, You’re Beautiful, and You’re Mine”) Burnette and nephew of Dorsey. This reached #8 on the Hot 100. After a very long hiatus, he’ll have a new album out this fall.
  2. SOS Band, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” Not exactly disco, but electro-funk, the SOS band is from Atlanta. This reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B and Dance charts. They had several more R&B chart Top 10’s, but didn’t have any further Pop chart success.
  3. Charlie Daniels Band, “In America” This patriotic number was the lead single off of Full Moon, and reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #13 on the Country chart. It experienced a revival after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
  4. Christopher Cross, “Sailing” I think anyone who’s read this blog knows how I feel about Christopher Cross in general and this song in particular. It was his second single in 1980 and it reached #1 in both the US and Canada.
  5. Paul McCartney, “Coming Up” From Sir Paul’s 1980 album McCartney 2, on which he played all the instruments and harmonized with Linda. It reached #1 in the US and was #7 for the year.
  6. Genesis, “Misunderstanding” Third single from their 1980 album Duke, it reached #1 in Canada and #14 in the US. Phil Collins hadoriginally written this for his first solo album, 1981’s Face Value, but ended up donating it to Genesis.
  7. Blues Brothers, “Gimme Some Lovin'” Joliet Jake (Chicago’s own John Belushi) and Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) Blues and their all-star band took this to #18 in the US and #22 in Canada. Home field advantage, I guess.
  8. Rolling Stones, “Emotional Rescue” Title track from the Stones’ 1980 release. It reached #1 in Canada and #3 in the US.
  9. Billy Joel, “It’s Still Rock ‘n’ Roll To Me” From Billy’s 1980 album Glass Houses, it spent 11 weeks in the Top 10 on the Hot 100, including two weeks at #1. It was the #7 record for the year.
  10. Olivia Newton-John, “Magic” From the 1980 soundtrack for the film Xanadu, which didn’t do as well as the song did, reaching #1 on the Hot 100 and AC charts in the US and #1 in Canada. Maybe they should have just released the album and forgotten about the mobie. Just my opinion.

And that’s the Friday 5×2 for August 23, 2019.

The Friday 5×2: WLS, 7/12/63

I’ve been out of it all week. Guess it’s the Dog Days of Summer that’s got me down, or whatever. I know I usually have this out much earlier, but it’s been one of those weeks…

Anyway, I’m wondering how much longer I can keep this up. My sources for surveys are drying up and from week-to-week I’m turning up the same lineup of songs. Noticing I hadn’t done much with 1963, I checked Oldiesloon and just happened to find that WLS had issued a survey on this day in 1963, so here you go.

  1. Johnny Cash, “Ring Of Fire” His classic song, written by June Carter (later June Carter Cash) and originally done by June’s sister Anita. No, it was never used for a Preparation H commercial, but it should have been.
  2. The Classics, “Till Then” It’s the old story of four guys from Brooklyn getting together and singing doo-wop. Nonetheless, a great song.
  3. Ricky Nelson, “Gypsy Woman” Not the same song as The Impressions did and Brian Hyland covered, but a good one nevertheless. Ricky looked good and sang great, and had the good fortune to appear on TV every week and to have James Burton backing him on guitar.
  4. Kyu Sakamoto, “Sukiyaki” A beautiful song about a young man walking through the rain, keeping his head up so no one can see he’s crying, and nothing to do with dinner.
  5. Bobby Vinton, “Blue On Blue” Bobby did a lot of songs with blue in the title, did you ever notice?
  6. Rolf Harris, “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” I was just talking about Australia yesterday, wasn’t I? Rolf played the wobble-board, a sheet of plywood that made that “whoop-whoop” sound when shaken.
  7. The Tymes, “So In Love” I never knew the name of the song or the group who did it, but I’ve always liked it. It’s a real beauty, isn’t it? The Tymes were a singing group from Philadelphia, in case you were wondering.
  8. The Beach Boys, “Shut Down” A short (under two minutes) song about a Chevy Stingray chasing a Dodge Dart. They didn’t do too many car songs, particularly when compared to the number of surfing songs, but they did them well.
  9. The Essex, “Easier Said Than Done” To date, the only Top 40 hit done by four active-duty Marines (Semper Fi!), which explains the dress blues in the picture. Being on active duty prevented them from touring much in support of their songs, as you can imagine.
  10. Jan & Dean, “Surf City” Notice this week that the group best known for their songs about surfing is in the Top 10 with a song about cars, while the group best known for its songs about cars charted with a song about surfing. Gotta love it.

And that’s the Friday 5×2 for July 12, 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: #11-20 From “The Big 89” of 1968

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

Song WLS WCFL
The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” 10 9
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, “Fire” 9 8
Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” 8 7
Mary Hopkin, “Those Were The Days” 7 6
Ohio Express, “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” 6 11
Herb Alpert, “This Guy’s In Love With You” 5 2
Jeannie C. Riley, “Harper Valley PTA” 4 5
Bobby Goldsboro, “Honey” 3 3
Paul Mauriat, “Love Is Blue (L’amour Est Bleu)” 2 1
The Beatles, “Hey Jude”/”Revolution” 1 4

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.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for January 4, 2019.