‘Finders, Not Keepers . . .’

So, if there had been a quiet evening listening to the radio forty years ago this week – and there likely was, as the Other Half and I did not watch a lot of television – what would we have heard as we sat and read in our mobile home just outside Monticello?

We’d likely have tuned the radio to the Twin Cities station KSTP-FM, styled KS-95 in its promotions, with its tagline newly revised just a year earlier to celebrate the hits of “the Sixties, the Seventies and today!”

And forty years ago today, on November 3, 1981, the station’s top ten was:

“Hard To Say” by Dan Fogelberg
“Arthur’s Theme” by Christopher Cross
“The Old Songs” by Barry Manilow
“Just Once” by Quincy Jones feat. James Ingram
“The Night Owls” by the Little River Band
“We’re In This Love Together” by Al Jarreau
“The Theme From Hill Street Blues” by Mike Post
“Private Eyes” by Hall & Oates
“Here I Am” by Air Supply
“Waiting For A Girl Like You” by Foreigner

The only one of those for which I really needed a reminder this morning was “The Night Owls.” Ten seconds in, I recalled the record and was still, forty years later, unimpressed.

(There was an odd moment, too, regarding “Just Once.” The survey, as presented at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive, credited the record only to Jones, and I thought to myself, “That’s a James Ingram record, isn’t it?” I grabbed my reference books and realized that I’d forgotten the song was from Jones’ album The Dude; the KS-95 survey as presented online had neglected to credit Ingram.)

Anyway, nine of those ten would have been a familiar and generally pleasant set of music forty years ago. Which of them would I like to hear these days? Let’s see how many of them are among the 2,700-some tracks in the iPod. It turns out to be just two: the Al Jarreau and the Mike Post, which is kind of how I figured it would go. As pleasant as some of the other eight might be, they really don’t matter to me.

And it’s not like the records from No. 11 through No. 20 on that survey from forty years ago offer great riches, either. There is one nugget, though, at No. 15, that I would probably put in my Top Ten from that long-ago year. And it’s a record that’s evidently been mentioned just once in the fourteen-plus years I’ve been throwing stuff at the wall here: “I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do)” by Lulu.

It was a major comeback record for the Scottish singer who’d first tickled the lower level of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964 with “Shout” and then flew to the top of the chart in 1967 with “To Sir With Love.” By 1981, Lulu had been absent from the charts for eleven years, but “I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do)” went to No. 18 in an eighteen-week stay on the Hot 100 and spent three weeks at No. 2 on the magazine’s Adult Contemporary chart.

And I still think it’s a great record:

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