Saturday Single No. 677

Searching for inspiration this morning, I went to the Airheads Radio Survey Archive, thinking vaguely of checking some surveys from this date in 1980. I wasn’t truly sold on the idea, as 1980 was about when I’d lost interest in most current music. Still, a dull idea is better than no idea, so I pulled up the page where the website lists its collected surveys and clicked the link that puts them in historical order.

And near the bottom of the page, I saw a familiar set of call letters: KFAM.

KFAM was one of the two AM stations serving St. Cloud in the 1960s. Located on the southwestern edge of town, it offered pretty much what WJON did: News and sports, some talk, and some middle-of-the-road music. (I wrote briefly once about my acquaintance with Peter Jay, the man who did play-by-play in the 1960s for the St. Cloud State basketball team; his work went out over the air on KFAM.)

KFAM is long gone. The AM side of the station is now KNSI (for New, Sports, Information), although I do not know when the call letters changed. The FM side, which offered beautiful music during the late 1960s and early 1970s, went Top 40 right around 1975 and changed to KCLD.

It turns out that there are six KFAM surveys at the ARSA site: Four consecutive from 1948, one from 1949, and one from 1954. So let’s look at that first survey, dated October 23, 1948, a survey that the website says was compiled by KFAM disc jockey Dudley Dane.

None of the names in the survey are at all familiar to me:

“I’m Gonna Tear Down The Mailbox” by Montana Slim
“Hair Of Gold, Eyes Of Blue” by Art Lund
“Chime Bells” by Elton Britt
“A Tree In The Meadow” by John Laurenz
“Twelfth Street Rag” by Pee Wee Hunt
“You Call Everybody Darlin’” by Anne Vincent
“Buttons & Bows” by Betty Rhodes
“When I Was Young And Handsome” by Texas Jim Robertson
“Ev’ry Day I Love You (Just A Little Bit More)” by Blue Barron
“Underneath The Arches” by Andy Russell

Some of those names and records show up in Joel Whitburn’s Billboard Pop Hits, which covers the pop charts from 1940 to 1954, and some don’t.

There’s no sign of Montana Slim, and Texas Jim Robertson is listed only as working with the Fontane Sisters. (He has his own listing, with the Panhandle Punchers, in Whitburn’s Top Country Hits, but “When I Was Young And Handsome” is not among the records there.)

Elton Britt’s “Chime Bells” went to No. 6 on the country charts but is not listed in the pop hits book. Britt also had several other hits on the country charts.

And Blue Barron & His Orchestra have ten records listed in the pop hits, but “Ev’ry Day I Love You (Just A Little Bit More)” is not among them.

That leaves six records from that long-ago survey that are listed in the Whitburn book as having reached the Billboard charts:

Lund’s “Hair Of Gold, Eyes Of Blue” went to No. 20. Laurenz’s “A Tree In The Meadow” went to No. 18. Russell’s “Underneath The Arches” went to No. 13. Rhodes’ “Buttons & Bows” went to No. 9. Vincent’s “You Call Everybody Darlin’” went to No. 6. And Hunt’s “Twelfth Street Rag” was No. 1 for eight weeks.

So, Pee Wee Hunt. He was born in Ohio in 1907 and died in Massachusetts in 1979. Wikipedia says he was “the co-founder and featured trombonist with the Casa Loma Orchestra, but he left the group in 1943 to work as a Hollywood radio disc jockey before joining the Merchant Marine near the end of World War II. He returned to the West Coast music scene in 1946. His “Twelfth Street Rag” was a three million-selling, number one hit in September 1948.”

And all of that means that “Twelfth Street Rag” by Pee Wee Hunt & His Orchestra is today’s Saturday Single.

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One Response to “Saturday Single No. 677”

  1. Casey says:

    Love this! Just never knew what it was called.

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