Archive for the ‘Bottom Feeding’ Category

‘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.