The Friday 5×2: Top 10 From The WLS “Big 89 Of 1968”

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

The Friday 5×2: WLS on November 24, 1967

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:

Source: Pinterest. Click for full size.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

And that’s the Friday 5×2 for November 23, 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: WLS Survey From 1977

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.

Continue reading “Monday’s Music Moves Me: WLS Survey From 1977”

Monday’s Music Moves Me: #1 At WLS On Memorial Day In The ’60’s

Getting a late start today. No particular reason…

First, Happy Memorial Day, although that doesn’t seem right to say on a day that commemorates our fallen service members. We owe a lot to the men and women who gave their lives in the struggle to maintain our freedom, and sadly, there’s no way to thank them for it. Someone posted on Instagram (I’m having trouble finding it) that today is a day to celebrate the freedom the fallen have bought for us and paid with their lives. I think that’s as good a way as any to think of it. And let’s not forget the other fallen veterans, the dogs, horses, goats, mules, carrier pigeons, camels and other animals who lost their lives in the cause.

Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 from 1868 until 1970, after which the celebration was moved to the last Monday in May. WLS in Chicago started publishing its weekly survey in October 1960, so here are the #1 songs from the survey immediately preceding May 30 for each year from 1961 through 1970. WCFL started playing Top 40 in late 1965, so I’ll give the song that was #1 for them starting in 1966.

  • 1961: Ricky Nelson, “Hello Mary Lou” One of my favorites, largely due to the James Burton guitar solo that inspired so many guitar players, or so it seems. Jumped all the way from #9 the week before. (Survey from May 27.)
  • 1962: Ray Charles, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” Having conquered the world of R&B, Ray tackled country music and was just as successful. Jumped from #8 the week before. (May 26.)
  • 1963: Lesley Gore, “It’s My Party” Lesley was celebrating her last week at #1 with this song on Memorial Day. The next day, she was supplanted by Ryu Sakamoto’s “Sukiyaki” (“Ue O Muite Arokou”), which jumped from #13 the previous week. (May 24)
  • 1964: The Beatles, “Love Me Do” A two-sided hit with “P.S. I Love You”, it remained at #1 from the week before. I’m pretty certain this isn’t The Fab Four doing this, but I couldn’t find an actual version. (May 29)
  • 1965: Herman’s Hermits, “Silhouettes” An upbeat cover of The Rays’ 1957 song, this stayed at #1 from the week before. (May 28)
  • 1966: The Rolling Stones, “Paint It Black” Hopped to the top spot from #5 the week before, supplanting The Mamas & Papas’ “Monday, Monday.” Down Wacker Drive at WCFL, “Monday, Monday” still topped the chart. (May 27)
  • 1967: Jefferson Airplane, “Somebody To Love” Knocked Tommy James & The Shondells’ “Mirage” out of the top spot. The same exact thing happened at Marina City on WCFL, one of the few times they were in sync. (May 26)
  • 1968: The Ohio Express, “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” Bubblegum reigned supreme as “Yummy3” spent another week atop the Silver Dollar Survey. Meanwhile, the last take-home survey WCFL issued was from the week before (May 23), when Tommy James & The Shondells’ “Mony Mony” topped the survey. There was no survey the week of the 30th, and the June 6 survey (of which one copy was sent to the record stores) had “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” in the top spot. (May 27)
  • 1969: The Beatles, “Get Back” The Beatles, who were on the verge of breaking up by now, topped the charts for a second consecutive week. A visit to your local record store on May 28 showed that “Get Back” as well as its flip side, “Don’t Let Me Down,” topped the Big 10. (May 26)
  • 1970: Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Up Around The Bend” CCR overtook Simon & Garfunkel’s oft-reviled “Cecilia” for the top spot at The Big 89. Vanity Fare’s “Hitchin’ A Ride” topped The Big 10 Countdown for a second week. (May 25)

I’ve enjoyed my month as your Guest Conductor, and hey, if you’re interested in joining us on Mondays, here’s what you do: check Xmas Dolly’s blog for the theme of the day, build your playlist (and it doesn’t have to be ten songs long, and it doesn’t even have to be a playlist) accordingly, and, when you’ve published your post, go to the Linky, which this week is


and enter your information. Then go visit the other bloggers doing this, who will be listed on the Linky page.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for Memorial Day, May 28, 2018.

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


The Friday 5×2: Top 10 from WLS, 4/13/70

Eugenia suggested that I do car songs today, and as I started I realized that I had already done car songs last Memorial Day, and had even played your suggestions the following week. So, rather than reinvent the wheel, I updated those playlists to remove and replace a few songs that had either disappeared or had been blocked by one of the MG’s (UMG, BMG, etc.). So those are out there.

Meanwhile, I had to come up with a different idea for today, so here’s another Top 10 post from WLS in Chicago, from this day in 1970.

#10: The Plastic Ono Band, “Instant Karma!” By this time, it was all over but the lawsuits for the Fab Four, and John and his new wife Yoko Ono (who appears in the video with her eyes bandaged, for reasons known only to her) were now hanging out with a new bunch of cool kids. This had slipped from #7 the week before.

#9: Michael Parks, “Long Lonesome Highway” The theme song for Parks’s short-lived TV series Then Came Bronson, an obvious attempt to cash in on the popularity of the movie Easy Rider. I liked the show, actually, probably because of the theme song. Up from #10 the previous week.

#8: Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, “Something’s Burning” From Kenny’s days as a rock ‘n’ roller, which were pretty good, if you ask me. Up from #12.

#7: Norman Greenbaum, “Spirit In The Sky” A great song and Greenbaum’s only Top 10 hit. A lot of radio stations shaved the last few seconds off the song, which included a cool guitar solo. Down from #5.

#6: The Ides Of March, “Vehicle” Berwyn, Illinois’ favorite sons had one national hit, this one. Up from #11.

#5: The Guess Who, “American Woman”/”No Sugar Tonight” A two sided hit single. Both songs are from 1969’s album American Woman. I think the recording of “No Sugar Tonight” includes “New Mother Nature,” which was tied to it on the album but was removed to get the song down to under three minutes. Up from #9.

#4: The Supremes, “Up The Ladder To The Roof” We’ve been watching the best of Ed Sullivan, and I forgot just how often they were on the show. I had forgotten this until I heard it again. Stayed at #4 from the previous week.

#3: Badfinger, “Come & Get It” One of the first new acts signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records, this song was written by Paul and appeared in the movie The Magic Christian, which starred Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr and is really funny. Stayed at #3 from the week before.

#2: The Beatles, “Let It Be” As mentioned previously, The Beatles had split up by now, and Paul McCartney, who sang this one, released his first solo album right around this time. Sounds like a funeral march in retrospect. Down from #1 the week before.

#1: The Jackson 5, “A B C” Michael, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Jackie had already found chart success, and this was very popular among the girls at St. Ignatius School, meaning this was played ad nauseum at parties when I was in eighth grade. Up from #2 the week before.

And that’s your Friday 5×2 for April 13, 2018.