Saturday Single No. 750

A few days ago, I examined the top fifteen albums offered in a survey fifty years ago this week by KSHE-FM, a progressive station in St. Louis. I thought today, we’d drop in on a survey from fifty years ago from a Top 40 station in St. Louis.

Here’s the Top 15 from the KXOK Bookmark from August 28, 1971.

“Sweet Hitch-Hiker” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Smiling Faces Sometimes” by the Undisputed Truth
“Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” by Marvin Gaye
“Spanish Harlem” by Aretha Franklin
“Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
“Beginnings” by Chicago
“Liar” by Three Dog Night
“Won’t Get Fooled Again” by the Who
“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” by Paul & Linda McCartney
“Signs” by the Five Man Electrical Band
“Dragging The Line” by Tommy James
“Go Down Gamblin’” by Blood, Sweat & Tears
“Go Away Little Girl” by Donny Osmond
“Rain Dance” by the Guess Who
“Bangla Desh” by George Harrison

Well, except for the Donny Osmond record (and maybe the Guess Who record, which I honestly do not recall), that would be a real fine hour of listening, no matter what station you were tuned to. There are three others among those fifteen that I think tend to get lost or somewhat forgotten, at least around here. Those are the records by CCR, BS&T and George Harrison. And that’s somewhat understandable. The catalogs of those three are stuffed with goodies that probably make better listening.

As to “Rain Dance.” I pulled it up on the RealPlayer to be reminded what it sounded like, and I have no memory of ever hearing come out the radio speakers.

Then, as far as “Bangla Desh” goes, that’s one of those records that I don’t often run into when I dig into old surveys. And that’s just chance, I guess. The surveys gathered at Airheads Radio Survey Archive show the record reaching the top ten, by my count, at fourteen stations, including KDWB in the Twin Cities.

And the cities where the record reached the top ten are an interesting bunch. Beyond the Twin Cities you find Gadsden, Alabama; Erie, Pennsylvania; Vincennes, Indiana; Amarillo, Texas; Terre Haute, Indiana; Rochester, New York; Hemingway, South Carolina; Denver, Colorado; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Lincoln, Nebraska; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Montreal and Vancouver in Canada.

Hmmm. Four major metro areas – Denver, Montreal, Vancouver and the Twin Cities – and a lot of mid-range and smaller cities. Does that mean anything? I dunno.

I doubt we’ve ever featured the record here. The times I did hear the single release during the late summer and autumn of 1971, I thought the production was kind of thin. The song sounded a lot better live, as performed in the Concert for Bangla Desh. (Why wouldn’t it, with Billy Preston and Eric Clapton doing the fills and Leon Russell leading the way?)

So, here’s the live version from August 1971 of “Bangla Desh” as shown in the film of the concert. It’s today’s Saturday Single.

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