Archive for the ‘Survey Digging’ Category

What’s At No. 100? (October 10, 1970)

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Time for another episode of What’s At No. 100? Today’s date – 10/10 – pretty much begged for that, and a quick look at my files of the Billboard Hot 100 showed that during the years we’re pretty much interested in around here, only twice did a Hot 100 get published on October 10.

The first was in 1964, and the second was in 1970. Now, the former of those two years would be a fun year to go digging around in, but the latter, well, anyone who knows me is aware that 1970 is a rich vein of gold in the mine of my memory. But before we go deep into the Hot 100 published forty-eight years ago today – and can it really be that long ago? – let’s look at that week’s Top Ten:

“Cracklin’ Rosie” by Neil Diamond
“I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5
“Candida” by Dawn
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana Ross
“All Right Now” by Free
“Julie Do Ya Love Me” by Bobby Sherman
“Lookin’ Out My Back Door/Long As I Can See The Light” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Green-Eyed Lady” by Sugarloaf
“We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters
“(I Know) I’m Losing You” by Rare Earth

Now there’s a fine forty minutes or so of late-night listening, perhaps after minimal attention to the demands of my senior-year classes or maybe after a football game. There’s nothing there that would make me move the tuner dial or hit the button in the car in search of better sounds. I did like the B-side of the CCR record better than that A-side, which has always seemed just a little bit silly.

And, as often happens, I’m a little startled to see Sugarloaf’s “Green-Eyed Lady” in 1970. The record always sounds to me – nearly a half-century distant from those radio waves – as if it should fall in 1976, where it would be, for some reason, a companion piece to Lighthouse’s “One Fine Morning.” (It works the other way, too: When “One Fine Morning” pops up in my listening routine, I always think it belongs in 1970, next to the Sugarloaf single, or the longer album track.)

A thought occurred to me as I write this: As my late-night listening in the autumn of my senior year of high school came from WLS in distant Chicago, what did that station have as its Top Ten as October 10 passed by? The answer comes from Oldiesloon:

“Cracklin’ Rosie”
“All Right Now”
“I’ll Be There”
“Indiana Wants Me” by R. Dean Taylor
“Candida”
“Do What You Want To Do” by Five Flights Up
“Out In The Country” by Three Dog Night
“Looking Out My Back Door”
“(I Know) I’m Losing You”
“Julie, Do Ya Love Me”

Not all that different. Two of the three listed in the WLS Top Ten and not in the Billboard Top Ten are familiar. The Three Dog Night single is a favorite, but I can live without R. Dean Taylor’s hit (although I kind of liked it back then). I didn’t recognize by its title the record by Five Flights Up, but as soon as I heard the chorus this morning, it came back to me. I never heard it much – not surprising, as it only got to No. 37 in the Hot 100. And a quick glance at Oldiesloon makes me think that the record never reached the surveys of either of the Twin Cities’ Top 40 stations, KDWB or WDGY.

We’ll end the Chicago digression and get back to our business here, which is heading toward the bottom of that Hot 100 from  October 10, 1970, and seeing what’s at No. 100. And we run into a tuneful, tough and clanking instrumental by Brian Auger & The Trinity: “Listen Here.”

Not long ago, as our pal jb was visiting St. Cloud and we were driving near the St. Cloud State campus, a track by Auger with vocals by Julie Driscoll came on the car radio courtesy of WXGY in nearby Sauk Rapids. It was, I think, “Season Of The Witch.” (It could have been “Road To Cairo” or “This Wheel’s On Fire.”) And jb, who hangs his blogging hat at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’, motioned to the speaker and said something like “This stuff is almost forgotten, and I cannot figure out why!”

Nor can I.

“Listen Here” showed up as a nine minute-plus version on Befour, a 1970 album by Auger and his band. I don’t know if the single is an edit, a shortened remix or an entirely different recording, but here it is. It spent two weeks at No. 100, and was the only record Auger ever got into the Hot 100 (although the previously mentioned “This Wheel’s On Fire” – with vocals by Driscoll – Bubbled Under for four weeks and got to No. 106).

‘Love Just Comes And It Goes . . .’

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Having had some fun last week digging into the bottom portions of a late 1970 summer survey from the Twin Cities’ KDWB, I thought I’d move a year further back this week and do the same with a survey from WDGY, the other Twin Cities Top 40 station (which, as I’ve noted, I could not hear in St. Cloud.)

The top five records in the WDGY Star Survey forty-nine years ago today were:

“Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies
“Lay Lady Lay” by Bob Dylan
“Commotion/Green River” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Get Together” by the Youngbloods
“Hurt So Bad” by the Lettermen

That’s a great six records (although the easy listening vibe of “Hurts So Bad” might have put off folks who tuned to WDGY for rock). I’m still, after almost fifty years, not as familiar with “Commotion” as I am with “Green River,” and I doubt I’m the only one.

So what do we find at the bottom of the Star Survey?

“I’d Wait A Million Years” by the Grass Roots
“When I Die” by Mother lode
“That’s The Way Love Is” by Marvin Gaye
“I’m Gonna Make You Mine” by Lou Christie
“Oh What A Night” by the Dells

The notes at Oldiesloon helpfully tell us that the Dells’ record is a remake of the group’s 1956 hit, so that pulls that record from the list of any we might want to examine this morning. And we’ve spent what might be considered an inordinate amount of time over the years examining the pleasant memories and nostalgic pangs brought to the surface by “I’m Gonna Make You Mine.” I also loved the Grass Roots’ single, as their promise to wait to the end of time resonated with my circumstances as my junior year of high school began to take shape.

As to “When I Die” by Motherlode, I truly doubt that I’d ever heard it until sometime after I began to write this blog in early 2007.

I know I heard the Marvin Gaye version earlier than that, but only by about fifteen years. I was driving home late one night during the early 1990s and found myself at a convenience store, pumping gas into my Toyota at about eleven o’clock at night. I was on a main thoroughfare, but one wouldn’t have to venture too far to the north to find a neighborhood of questionable safety, so I was a bit nervous as the gasoline flowed into the tank and the numbers whirled on the pump.

When the pump clicked off, I finished my business and got into the car as quickly as I could. And as as I headed out of the convenience store’s lot and west on Thirty-Fifth Street, I heard a slinky intro of electric piano, bass and muffled drums coming from the car radio, tuned – as was almost always the case – to KTCZ-FM, Cities 97.

Then came a rattlesnake tambourine and finally the vocal: “Ahhhhhhhhh, baby! As the bitter tears fall from your eyes . . .”

“That’s Marvin,” I thought. “But this is nothing I’ve ever heard!”

Three blocks later, I pulled my Toyota into its parking space behind my apartment building and sat in the car, waiting for the end of the record. When it finished, I went inside and took down my copy of Joel Whitburn’s Top 40 Singles from the shelf and verified that Gaye had recorded a song titled “That’s The Way Love Is.” I also learned that it had reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. (A later acquisition tells me that the record spent five weeks at No. 2 on the magazine’s R&B chart.)

I was nearly satisfied. So I picked up the phone and called the late-night deejay at Cities 97, something I’d done a few times when I had a similar question. He answered, and I asked “That was Marvin a few minutes ago, right?”

“Oh, yeah” came the answer.

I have no idea how I missed the record back then, but the surveys collected at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive and at Oldiesloon tell me that the record peaked on WDGY at No. 24 during the last week of September. From what I can tell, the collected KDWB surveys at ARSA are missing the final two weeks of September, but none of the surveys before or after that gap list the record, so if “That’s The Way Love Is” showed up in the KDWB survey, it was for two weeks at most.

So it’s not surprising that I hadn’t heard it back then.

‘Let Me Run Down Your Fingers . . .’

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Looking back forty-eight years to the September 7, 1970, “6+30” survey from the Twin Cities’ KDWB, the top six records immediately start a playlist in my head:

“War” by Edwin Starr
“In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder
“Make It With You” by Bread
“25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago
“Solitary Man” by Neil Diamond

Decent records all, but I find things more interesting in the bottom six of that long-ago survey:

“Holy Man” by Diane Kolby
“Lay A Little Lovin’ On Me” by Robin McNamara
“All Right Now” by Free
“Soul Shake” by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
“Long Long Time” by Linda Ronstadt
“Tell It All Brother” by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition

We’ve talked about the bottom three of those at one time or another here, and the one that grabs my attention this morning is the first entry in that list: “Holy Man.” Sitting at No. 31, it was new to the survey:

The record peaked at No. 12 on KDWB three weeks later, which is probably why I recall it. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the record, but when I saw it listed on that 1970 survey this morning, I remembered hearing it and liking it.

The record’s success at KDWB was an anomaly, as “Holy Man” made it to only No. 67 on the Billboard Hot 100. There were a few other stations around the country where the record did well, based on what’s available at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive. In Kansas City, “Holy Man” went to No. 11 on KHB’s “40 Star Super Hit Survey,” as it did on the “Big Thirty” at Salt Lake City’s KNAK. A few other stations saw the record peak in the top twenty. One of those was the Twin Cities’ WDGY, where it got to No. 19. (The highest ranking that the surveys at ARSA show for the record is a peak at No. 4 on 2SM in Sydney, Australia.)

“Holy Man” was the only charting single for Kolby, a native of Houston, Texas, although several others were released in the U.S. and elsewhere between 1970 and 1974. All but one of those singles ended upon her one released album, a self-titled effort that – oddly – was not released until 1973, three years after her one bit of chart success. The one non-album single listed at Discogs – “Ju Ju Woman” – is also pretty good.

Kolby died in 2016 at the age of 70. Her life and career are examined in a post from this past June at the blog Aquarium Drunkard.

Survey Digging, California Style

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Sometime after World War II, one of my dad’s five sisters – Evelyn – moved to California, where her husband – my Uncle Bill – got into some kind of advertising or promotion business in Los Angeles. They had two kids, a girl and a boy, each about a year older than my sister and me.

Sometime in the late 1950s, another aunt and uncle – Dad’s sister Francis and her husband – headed to California, too. They settled in Oxnard, where my Uncle Newell was a dentist. They, too, had a pair of kids, a girl and a boy, a bit closer in age to me and my sister but still a bit older than we were.

I used to daydream about a California vacation, about visiting those distant relatives in that golden state, about getting to know my cousins better, and about seeing all the things in California that I saw on television and in the magazines and movies. But a California vacation was out of the reach of a state college teacher’s salary in the 1960s and early 1970s, and anyway, Dad’s sisters and their husbands and their kids made their ways back to Minnesota every couple of years, so we didn’t really have to go all the way west to see our relatives.

Digression: As did many kids I knew, I dreamed of going to Disneyland. Every week as we watched the Disney television show – always in black and white on Kilian Boulevard – I’d see the shots of people having an incredibly fun time at the park in Anaheim. For whatever reason, the attraction at Disneyland that grabbed my attention the most was the Mad Hatter’s teacup ride.

Finally, when I was twenty-nine, I got to Southern California covering the Monticello High School Marching Band’s participation in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade. One of the band’s activities during the week we spent out west was marching in one of the daily parades at Disneyland, with pretty much an entire day of free time wrapped around that half-hour long parade. I headed to Fantasyland, home of the Mad Hatter’s teacups . . . and learned that Fantasyland was closed for a year-long renovation. I enjoyed the rest of the attractions at Disneyland. It was a fun day. But even now, thirty-some years later, when I see a picture of the Mad Hatter’s teacups, there’s a little twinge inside. End digression

Having taken a look earlier this week at what I was hearing on KDWB as the last weeks of summer 1970 played out (not all of which I remembered), I thought today, I would dig into the Airheads Radio Survey Archive and find a survey from this week from either Los Angeles or Oxnard and see what my California cousins heard coming from their radios.

I couldn’t find anything fitting the time frame from Oxnard, but I found the Boss 30 from Los Angeles’ KHJ for August 12, 1970. I don’t expect huge differences from what we were hearing back in the Midwest, but there might be one or two unexpected gems.

Here’s the top half of that week’s Boss 30:

“Make It With You” by Bread
“In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry
“War” by Edwin Starr
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder
“Everybody’s Got The Right To Love” by the Supremes
“The Sly, Slick And The Wicked” by the Lost Generation
“Long Long Time” by Linda Ronstadt
“Westbound #9” by the Flaming Ember
“Tell It All, Brother” by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition
“Looking Out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Soul Shake” by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana Ross
“Tighter, Tighter” by Alive & Kicking
“Only You Know And I Know” by Dave Mason

No real surprises there, except maybe the records by Dave Mason and by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, both of which missed – by two or three places – the Top 40 in Billboard. Some of the other records that hit the Top 40 rank a fair amount higher here than they ever did in Billboard, most notably the records by the Supremes, the Flaming Ember, and the Lost Generation. But nothing looks horribly out of place.

Of the eight records that KHJ tagged as “hitbound,” three of them were new to the survey: “Julie, Do Ya Love Me” by Bobby Sherman (which I mentioned the other day and was pleased the next day or so to hear coming at random from the iPod), “Look What They’ve Done To My Song” by the New Seekers, and “Candida” by Dawn.

Entering the Boss 30 the previous week and tagged as hitbound were: “Joanne” by Mike Nesmith & The First National Band, “Hand Me Down World” by the Guess Who, ‘Summertime Blues” by the Who, “I (Who Have Nothing)” by Tom Jones, and “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Neil Diamond.

So there’s nothing real surprising there. What does surprise me – having dug into the blog archives as I’ve written – is that in more than eleven years and some 2,200 posts, it seems that I’ve only mentioned the tune “Only You Know And I Know” two or three times, and always in the context of the cover version released by Delaney & Bonnie in 1971. I’ve entirely ignored Mason’s original, which showed up on his 1970 album Alone Together. It went to No. 42 in Billboard and was obviously more popular than that at KHJ. So here it is:

‘Never Goin’ Home’

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

Having messed up bigly in tracing Mungo Jerry’s “In The Summertime” at KDWB the other week (and I still can’t figure out how my search went so awry), I thought I’d dive into the data at oldiesloon again this morning and take a look at the KDWB 6+30 from August 10, 1970.

As the second week of that August rolled in, most scheduled summer activities – enrichment classes, music programs, the state trap shoot – would have been over.

But the three weeks of summer football practice for the Tech Tigers had most likely just started, with me tending to boxes of footballs, bins of scrimmage jerseys, a primitive medical kit, and more. And before and after practice, the radio in the locker room’s small training room was almost always tuned to KDWB. I heard a lot of KDWB at home, too, but there, evenings belonged to WJON across the tracks and late evenings belonged to Chicago’s WLS.

Anyway, here are the Top Fifteen from that KDWB 6+30, records I would have heard nearly every day:

“(They Long To Be) Close To You” by the Carpenters
“Make It With You” by Bread
“Ball Of Confusion” by the Temptations
“O-o-h Child” by the Five Stairsteps
“Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
“Tighter, Tighter” by Alive & Kicking
“Spill The Wine” by Eric Burdon & War
“Song Of Joy” by Miguel Rios
“War” by Edwin Starr
“Band Of Gold” by Freda Payne
“I Just Can’t Help Believing” by B.J. Thomas
“Big Yellow Taxi” by Neighborhood
“Go Back” by Crabby Appleton
“Mama Told Me (Not To Come)” by Three Dog Night
“Are You Ready?” by Pacific Gas & Electric

That’s a pure hour of bliss for me. At least today it would be, forty-eight years after the fact. At the time, I might not have been too thrilled by “Song Of Joy” and I vaguely recall that I tired rapidly of “Spill The Wine.”

Looking further down the survey, “In The Summertime” (the record that started this) was at No. 18, up from No. 27 the week before. Gene Chandler’s “Groovy Situation,” a record that popped up on my iTunes yesterday, was sitting at No. 27, up three spots from the previous week. And there were three new records in the 6+30: “Overture From Tommy (A Rock Opera)” by the Assembled Multitude was at No. 31, “Never Goin’ Home” by Owen B. was at No. 34, and Bobby Sherman’s “Julie, Do Ya Love Me” was at No. 36.

I’ve written about two of those three newcomers seemingly many times. The Assembled Multitude record was one of my favorites that season, and the Bobby Sherman record stays in my memory banks because years after the fact, I realized that there was a Julie who, if she didn’t truly love me, at least liked me a lot, and I never noticed.

I don’t remember the record by Owen B. and searching it out on YouTube this morning sparked no recognition. It turns out that Owen B. was a band from Mansfield, Ohio, that had one record reach the Billboard Hot 100: “Mississippi Mama” went to No. 97 over a two-week period in March 1970. “Never Goin’ Home” never made the Hot 100, and it didn’t stay on KDWB very long. The following week, the record had fallen to No. 35, and a week later, it was gone.

Among the surveys collected at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive, only one other station gave “Never Goin’ Home” any attention. That was WCOL in Columbus, Ohio, where the record went to No. 1 during the first week of July. And that’s not surprising, as Columbus is just sixty miles from Owen B.’s home of Mansfield.

(If you’re interested in learning more about Owen B., there’s a brief history of the band in a 2013 post – seemingly written by band member Tom Zinser – at the blog Rockasteria.)

What interests me this morning is how – and why – “Never Goin’ Home” got any attention at all at KDWB. From what I can tell, the record never got into the 30 Star Survey at WDGY, the Twin Cities’ other Top 40 station. And from listening to the record several times this morning, that was a good decision. I mean, it’s not a bad record, but nothing much separates it from a thousand other records of the time.

I’ll let you make up your mind:

Baby Grand? ‘Lucy Cain’?

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Looking for a radio survey from today’s date in 1972 – forty-five years ago – I came upon only two such surveys at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive: one from WMEX in Boston and another from WISM in Madison, Wisconsin. And the latter result amused me, as I’m pretty sure that one of WISM’s listeners in those days – at times, anyway – was my pal jb, who grew up on a farm not far away from Wisconsin’s capital and lives now in a small city adjacent to Madison.

So I took a look at the top ten records listed there:

“It Never Rains In Southern California” by Albert Hammond
“Something’s Wrong With Me” by Austin Roberts
“Papa Was A Rolling Stone” by the Temptations
“Clair” by Gilbert O’Sullivan
“I’m Stone In Love With You” by the Stylistics
“If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
“Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts
“Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul
“Ventura Highway” by America
“You Ought To Be With Me” by Al Green

The top five has a couple of misses, at least to my ears – the records by Roberts and O’Sullivan never hit my sweet spot – but the other eight would make for a very nice half-hour of listening. The one I know the least is the Al Green tune, but listening to it this morning I’d be willing to put it in second place among those ten. (It would take a hell of a record to push “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” from the top of this heap.)

Even though – as I’ve noted before – my listening at the time was becoming more album-oriented as time went on, I still heard enough Top 40 around me that almost all of the records in the lower spots on the WISM survey were familiar as well. To be precise, as I scan the titles and artists listed in the thirty spots on the survey and the three hit-bound entries, there’s only one pairing that’s a mystery to me: “Lucy Cain” by Baby Grand, sitting at No. 23, up three spots from the week before.

I would guess that “Lucy Cain” would be a mystery to many: Out of the thousands of radio surveys cataloged at ARSA, WISM’s Music Guide from December 7, 1972, is the only one that lists the record. And it seems to have not yet been shared by any of the millions of folks who put tunes up at YouTube. (Although there are evidently three women with YouTube accounts by the name of Lucy Cain.)

So I googled. A copy of the record, which came out on the Hemisphere label, is available at Ebay, and a website titled That 70s Wisconsin Beat informs me that Baby Grand – as I suspected – was a local act. And the next entry in the googled results takes me to the lengthy comment section on a piece about the Wisconsin band Clicker by my pal Jeff at his blog AM, Then FM. A few commenters mention Baby Grand and “Lucy Cain,” but unless I missed something in the more than fifty comments, there’s no real info there.

Perhaps jb or Jeff can clue us in, or maybe our pal Yah Shure. Or someone.

Regrouping, I dropped to the bottom of the WISM survey and picked out the third listed of the three hit-bound singles. I remember hearing and liking the Hollies’ “Long Dark Road,” but I haven’t heard it for years. It’s not on the digital shelves here now, and I doubt that it was there before the recent hard drive crash.

It wasn’t one of the Hollies’ biggest hits, reaching No. 26 in the Billboard Hot 100, but it’s worth a listen today:

One Survey Dig & A Note

Friday, May 19th, 2017

I’m guessing that as my senior year of high school wound down in the spring of 1971, I wasn’t listening much to KDWB out of the Twin Cities. Here’s the top fifteen from station’s “6+30” survey during this week in May 1971:

“Sweet & Innocent” by Donny Osmond
“Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones
“Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” by Lobo
“It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo Starr
“Chick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)” by Daddy Dewdrop
“Love Her Madly” by the Doors
“Put Your Hand In The Hand” by Ocean
“Want Ads” by the Honey Cone
“Treat Her Like A Lady” by the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
“Power To The People” by John Lennon
“Me And My Arrow” by Nilsson
“Never Can Say Goodbye” by the Jackson 5
“If” by Bread
“Rainy Days & Mondays” by the Carpenters
“Be Nice To Me” by Runt-Todd Rundgren

Why am I thinking that KDWB wasn’t a major part of my listening habits? For a couple of reasons. First, much of my listening was late evening (from 9 p.m. to whenever I fell asleep, probably about 10:30), and that came from either WJON down the street or WLS in Chicago. I think KDWB had been relegated to daytime listening at home – and there wasn’t much of that during the school year – and to whatever time I spent driving, and that wasn’t a lot, as I didn’t yet have my own car.

And then, there are two records in that top fifteen that I don’t recall hearing as much would have been likely had I been listening to the Big 63. Even though it was a national hit (No. 7 in the Billboard Hot 100), I don’t recall hearing the Donny Osmond single a lot. Maybe I just tuned it out. And then there’s the Runt-Todd Rundgren record, “Be Nice To Me.” Having listened to it at YouTube this morning, I can only say that it’s not at all familiar (and that’s possible, as it went only to No. 71 in the Hot 100 and I’ve never dug deeply into Rundgren’s catalog.)

And there’s one more bit of evidence that KDWB wasn’t getting much airplay around our stretch of Kilian Boulevard: Sitting at No. 21 in the “6+30” from forty-six years ago this week is Boz Scaggs’ “We Were Always Sweethearts,” which seems to have peaked at KDWB at No. 17.

The record’s popularity on KDWB was an anomaly, as the record, which was Scaggs’ first to hit the Billboard chart, peaked at No. 61 in the Hot 100. I don’t remember hearing it back then. If I had, I would think I would have remembered it when I got around to hearing it on the Moments album in later years.

It doesn’t matter, really. But “We Were Always Sweethearts” is still a good record, and it’s a good way to close this little bit of survey digging.

A note . . .
I’d planned for some time for this week to have been the week when I resumed a regular schedule here. That plan went away Tuesday when Mom went to the hospital with what turned out to be a couple of small strokes. Things seemed pretty dark Wednesday, but by Thursday morning, she was sitting in a chair, eating on her own, telling my sister and me things we had to remember to take care of, and singing along to a playlist of Lutheran hymns I pulled up from YouTube on my phone.

As I write, the plan is for her to return this afternoon to her place at Prairie Ridge. (That’s the memory care facility attached to Ridgeview Place; she’s been in memory care for about a month.) We’ll have some hospice protocols in place for her; more strokes are likely, and she doesn’t want to go back to the hospital and undergo the ensuing tests. She’s ninety-five and she’s tired, but she was entirely present yesterday as she and my sister and I talked about her care with some staff members from the St. Cloud Hospital.

And strokes or not, tired or not, she made it very clear to us that she intends to keep her appointment to have her hair done today.

Saturday Single No. 531

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

We’re gonna do the fifty years ago thing this morning because it’s fun and because the Airheads Radio Survey Archive just happens to have in its files the “The Big 6+30” from the Twin Cities’ KDWB from March 11, 1967, fifty years ago today.

And to find our Saturday Single, we’ll play Games With Numbers with today’s date – 3/11/17 – and check out the records that were at No. 11, No. 17 and No. 28 in “The Big 6+30” from that long ago date.

But first, let’s think about March of 1967 from the view of a 13-year-old whiteray. He was making his way through the thickets of eighth grade, dealing well enough with a basic curriculum of geometry, geography, English, Earth science, industrial arts and phy. ed. (Looking back fifty years this morning, I’m surprised that I don’t recall any art classes from that year; perhaps the junior high powers had observed my efforts during seventh grade and had wisely decided there was no point in investing any more tempera paint or India ink into my decidedly mediocre work.)

He’d had his tonsils out in February, and his throat was still a little tender. His heartfelt overtures to a cute blonde contemporary had been rebuffed sometime that winter, and his feelings were still a little tender. And he’d been kept after school sometime over the winter for defacing, literally, a magazine cover.

One thing he wasn’t doing – as I’ve noted here many times over more than ten years – was paying any attention to KDWB and its Top 40 music. He heard the station’s output at home when his sister listened and at friends’ homes, so much of what was on “The Big 6+30” fifty years ago would have been familiar if not favored. Here’s the station’s Top Five from that week:

“Ruby Tuesday” by the Rolling Stones
“The Beat Goes On” by Sonny & Cher
“My Cup Runneth Over With Love” by Ed Ames
“Kind Of A Drag” by the Buckinghams
“I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)” by the Electric Prunes

Of those five, the only one I knew well was Ames’ single, and being even then an utter romantic, I adored it. Could I have told you why? Not then. (I could now, I think, but there’s no point in my trying after reading my pal jb’s tender assessment of the record in a post from five years ago at And The Hits Just Keep On Comin’.) And I would have heard Ames’ single more frequently on the Twin Cities’ WCCO or St. Cloud’s KFAM, as the record topped the Billboard Easy Listening chart (now called Adult Contemporary) for four weeks that winter.

Three of the other four in that top five are vague portions of the soundtrack of those times. The only one of KDWB’s Top Five that doesn’t ring old bells is the single by the Electric Prunes. But what about our three targets for this morning’s exercise?

Sitting at No. 11 in KDWB-Land was “Gimme Some Lovin’” by the Spencer Davis Group. The No. 17 slot was occupied by “So You Want To Be A Rock ’N’ Roll Star” by the Byrds. And the No. 28 record in “The Big 6+30” was “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” by the Casino.”

I don’t recall the Byrds’ single from my life in 1967. The other two records ring those old bells: “Gimme Some Lovin’” because its unmistakable intro would have ingrained itself into the head of any kid whether he liked rock music or not, and the Casinos’ record because it was pretty and romantic, qualities that spoke to the awkward and lonely lad that I was. It was also fairly pragmatic, given the repeated line, “If it don’t work out,” a subtle virtue I did not grasp then and would not grasp in music or romance for many years to come.

By this time fifty years ago, the Casinos’ record had already peaked at No. 14 on KDWB and was on its way down. In the Billboard Hot 100 fifty years ago this week, “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” was peaking at No. 6. (Given that the record was so clearly out of step with nearly every trend in pop music at the time, sounding like it belonged to, say, 1961 instead of 1967, I was startled to see this morning that it made no dent in the Easy Listening chart.)

So, it’s pretty, romantic and pragmatic; it’s only been mentioned twice here in more than ten years (once in 2007 and once earlier this winter); and it reminds me of a thirteen-year-old whiteray anxiously awaiting the day when he’d understand both girls and love (and of course, he still doesn’t fully understand either). Because of all that, the Casinos” “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” is today’s Saturday Single.

The Starship Sampler, Part 2

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Last week, we took a look at the top singles listed by St. Cloud’s WJON in its Starship Sampler dates February 6, 1976. (The sampler images were, as I noted, a gift from regular reader Yah Shure.) Today, we’ll take a look at the list of “St. Cloud’s Top Albums” on the back of the sampler and see what we can glean from that list. (The scan is here).

Here are the top ten albums (with a couple of titles corrected).

Desire by Bob Dylan
Fool For The City by Foghat
Alive by Kiss
History by America
Abandoned Luncheonette by Hall & Oates
Captured Angel by Dan Fogelberg
Face The Music by the Electric Light Orchestra
Eric Carmen
Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon
Chicago IX, Chicago’s Greatest Hits

That would be a decent seven hours or so of listening, with a few caveats from my side of the speakers. Seven of those records eventually showed up in the vinyl stacks; the ones that did not were the ones by Foghat, Kiss and the Electric Light Orchestra. (No Foghat or Kiss ever showed up among the vinyl; three other albums by ELO eventually did, and the Foghat album is present on the digital shelves.)

So, are any of those essential as albums in these precincts? As albums, I see only one: Abandoned Luncheonette. It’s a little startling to see a 1973 album on a 1976 survey, given that the entry of the re-release of “She’s Gone” into the Billboard Hot 100 was still five months in the future, but from the sweet “When The Morning Comes” through the funk-to-rock-to-hoedown epic “Everytime I Look At You,” it’s a joy.

Dylan’s Desire comes close, missing the cut because of the eleven-minute tale of gangster Joey Gallo. So does the Paul Simon album, missing the cut for no particular reason.

But perhaps, as we did the other day, it might be instructive to check out the 3,825 tracks in the iPod and see how well these albums are represented. Five tracks show up from the Hall & Oates album: “When The Morning Comes,” “Had I Known You Better Then,” “Las Vegas Turnaround (The Stewardess Song),” “I’m Just A Kid (Don’t Make Me Feel Like A Man),” and, of course, “She’s Gone.”

I find four tracks from Still Crazy After All These Years: The title track, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover,” and two duets, “Gone At Last” with Phoebe Snow and “My Little Town” with Art Garfunkel. The only track present from Dylan’s Desire is “Black Diamond Bay,” though I may find room for “Hurricane.” America’s hits album is represented by “A Horse With No Name” and “Don’t Cross The River,” and I could throw “Sandman” in there.

As to the Electric Light Orchestra album, the iPod holds versions that appear to be single edits of “Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic,” and the Chicago hits album is sort of represented there: I have the single version of “Make Me Smile” in the iPod, but I got it from the CD release of Chicago, the silver album. (The album offered edits of “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “Beginnings,” but I go with the full-length versions.)

Shut out on the iPod are the albums by Kiss, Foghat, Carmen and Fogelberg.

I’m not at all sure what that proves, but I find it interesting that the Hall & Oates album pleases me these days more than the Dylan, a judgment that I’m not sure I’d have made twenty or thirty years ago.

Here’s “Had I Known You Better Then” from Abandoned Luncheonette.

The Starship Sampler

Friday, February 17th, 2017

In one of those things that occasionally bedevil all of us in this digital world, I found myself for about two weeks unable to access my Yahoo! email account, the one that’s used for this blog and for offers to meet incredibly scrumptious women. When whatever gunked up the Intertubes cleared up – and I imagine it was a combination of digital Yahooligans and my own errors – I found a gift from regular reader and friend Yah Shure:

He sent along scans of the WJON/WJJO Starship Sampler from February 9, 1976, detailing thirty-eight top singles on each of the two St. Cloud stations – WJON was Top 40 (or near enough) and WWJO was (and still is) country – along with a list of 30 featured pop/rock albums on the back cover of the sampler. (Yah Shure had intended me to have the sampler in time to write about it on February 9, but whatever went wrong with my email put a dent in that idea, so we’re a little more than a week late, which seems like no big deal after forty-one years.)

The two stations, of course, were right around the corner and across the railroad tracks from my folks’ place on Kilian Boulevard (and they’re still there in a newer building, just down Lincoln Avenue from our current place). For many years, WJON was one of the stations that gave me my evening Top 40 fix. Oddly enough, at the time of this particular sampler, that wasn’t the case: I was living in the Twin Cities, finishing an internship in television sports and getting my Top 40 from KDWB.

Still, it’s fun to know what the folks I left behind me in the Cloud were listening to, even though not much of it is surprising. Here is WJON’s Top Ten from that long-ago week:

“Convoy” by C.W. McCall
“I Write The Songs” by Barry Manilow
“Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers
“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon
“Evil Woman” by the Electric Light Orchestra
“Squeeze Box” by the Who
“All By Myself” by Eric Carmen
“Fox On The Run” by Sweet
“Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” by Neil Sedaka
“Winners & Losers” by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds

(I’m going to leave the country side of the sampler alone today except to note that “Convoy” was also No. 1 there.)

The only one of the pop Top Ten I did not recall was “Winners & Losers,” and a trip to YouTube did not impress me. The record, which went to No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, was HJF&R’s follow-up to the group’s No. 1 hit, “Fallin’ In Love,” which I also thought was a little flabby. (I’m not alone there. Yah Shure noted in a later email that both “Fallin’” and “Winners” were releases on the Playboy label, the group’s new home, and he noted that “their Playboy output was like listening to their Dunhill singles, minus any air in the tires.”)

The only surprise that Yah Shure pointed out on the Top 40 side of the sampler was the presence of Michael Murphey’s “Renegade” at No. 34, a decent enough record but one that I don’t recall at all. We both expressed amused bafflement that “The White Knight” by Cledus Maggard & The Citizens Band – a sort of rough-edged “Convoy” wannabee – sat at No. 26 on WJON. And he noted – half kidding, I think – that he was surprised that station owner Andy Hilger hadn’t “put the kibosh” on the station’s airing the Who’s naughty joke, “Squeezebox.”

Beyond that, the sampler was pretty much what you’d expect from early February 1976. There were a good number of records I recall fondly, some I love, some I don’t care about, and some I dislike. Beyond “Renegade,” there was only one I did not recall: David Ruffin’s “Walk Away From Love,” which sat at No. 19. A trip to YouTube refreshed my memory, and it fell into the “don’t care” category.

The interior pages from the February 9, 1976, Starship Sampler are here.

We’ll take a look at the list of “St. Cloud’s Top Albums” from February 9, 1976, early next week. And we’ll close today with a record that sat at No. 31 in the Starship Sampler that long-ago week, one that I like a great deal, and one that’s not been mentioned here since April 2007, Helen Reddy’s “Somewhere In The Night.”