The spring of 1966 has never really ended, in the sense that some of the music of that season has never been off the radio since: “Nowhere Man,” “19th Nervous Breakdown,” “Soul and Inspiration,” “Homeward Bound,” “California Dreamin’,” “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” “Sloop John B.” These records jump out from the chart of KSJB in Jamestown, North Dakota, dated April 1, 1966—but there’s not much left to say about them. Far more interesting are some of the less-legendary tunes on the radio at the same time.
2. “Tippy Toeing”/Harden Trio (up from 22). This straight country tune (which also made Number 44 on the Hot 100) was the hottest thing going in southeastern North Dakota that spring. Radio veterans amongst the readership will recognize that it’s the sort of thing that blows out the phones with requests at first, but quickly begins to drive DJs to thoughts of homicide (or suicide) as the calls continue day after day, usually from the same half-dozen people, who don’t want to spend 95 cents to buy their own copy of the damn thing. Listen here, if you dare.
11. “Keep Her Satisfied”/Uglies (up from 15). An Upper Midwest rage from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, the Unbelievable Uglies, as they were also known, got a major-label deal after this song hit. According to their Wikipedia entry, they opened the first night of the Who’s first American headlining tour (1967) in Fargo, North Dakota, and both bands were accused by the mayor of Fargo of inciting the teen audience to riot. They also opened for the Beach Boys, the Yardbirds, the Four Seasons, and John Denver during their heyday. And they’ve reunited.
24. “Book of Love”/Underbeats (up from 25). Another Minnesota band, formed in 1962, the Underbeats were the first career stop for James Walsh, Jim Johnson, and Rico Rosenbaum, who ended up in Gypsy, which released a handful of well-regarded (if not well-bought) albums in the early 70s. “Gypsy Queen Part 1” made the Hot 100 around the turn of 1971; a reconfigured group under the name of the James Walsh Gypsy Band had a minor hit with “Cuz It’s You Girl” in 1978. (Read more about the Underbeats and Gypsy here.)
28. “I Can’t Grow Peaches on a Cherry Tree”/Just Us (up from 33). If you put the New Christy Minstrels, the Sandpipers, and Chad and Jeremy into a blender and hit “frappé,” you’d end up with “I Can’t Grow Peaches on a Cherry Tree.” Just Us was Al Gorgoni and Chip Taylor; Gorgoni was a major session player; Taylor wrote “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning.”
34. “Phoenix Love Theme”/Brass Ring (up from 38). Here’s a sprightly tune you might recognize, but maybe not by its title. It’s from the movie Flight of the Phoenix starring Jimmy Stewart, Peter Finch, and Ernest Borgnine. It’s also the bigger of two modest Top 40 hits for the Brass Ring—the other was “The Dis-Advantages of You,” famously featured in a cigarette commercial.
Forty-three years later, KSJB is still on the air with the same call letters, although it’s playing country these days. And just like in days of old, the people there have been working overtime when their community needs them most, serving the public interest, convenience, and necessity during the Red River flooding in the state of North Dakota.
One More Thing: It’s good to see our Internet friend and Popdose colleague Scraps turning up in the comments around here again. Scraps, it’s good to know you’re up and typing, and we wish you continuously improving health.