One Chart Dig: April 3, 1971

Hidden deep in the Billboard Hot 100 from April 3, 1971 – a time forty-four years ago when I was entering my last two months of high school and grooving on Richard Bell’s piano work on Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” (No. 2 at the time) – were a good number of records that I might have liked hearing. Maybe I heard them once or twice: Someone, somewhere, was playing them enough to get them into at least the lower levels of the Billboard chart.

One of those records, discovered more than forty years after the fact, is country singer Susan Raye’s “L.A. International Airport,” in which the song’s narrator is getting out of town after she learns from her guy that “he doesn’t love me anymore.”

It’s a decent record, and I probably would have liked it had I heard it back then. Forty-four years ago today, it was bubbling under at No. 118; it eventually got to No. 54. It went to No. 9 on the country chart, where Raye was a fairly regular presence: She had 19 records in the country Top 40 – including six duets with Buck Owens – between 1970 and 1975. Her best performing record on the country chart was “(I’ve Got A) Happy Heart,” which went to No. 3 about the time that 1971 was turning into 1972.

There were a few folks around the country playing “L.A. International Airport.” The surveys available at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive show the record reaching the Top 10 on one station, Kansas City’s WHB. It hit the Top 20 on stations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in Albany, New York, and in Pittsburg, Kansas. Here in Minnesota, the record spent two weeks on WDGY’s survey, peaking at No. 34; it doesn’t seem to have show up at all on the surveys from KDWB, where I got my music.

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