Big in Oshkosh

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(Pictured: Peggy Lipton with her Mod Squad co-stars Michael Cole (L) and Clarence Williams III (R). Lipton was a singer as well as an actress, and one of her singles was on a few radios 45 years ago this week.)

OK, this is just fantastic: the Fun One Plus 49 survey from WOSH in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, 1490 on your AM dial, dated February 1, 1970. The top of the chart includes the big national hits of the moment (Shocking Blue, the Guess Who, the Jackson Five, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Mark Lindsay, the Hollies, Sly and the Family Stone, etc.), a dollop of adult-contemporary flavor (Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, and the fabulously trippy “Midnight Cowboy” by Ferrante and Teicher), the Johnny Cash version of “If I Were a Carpenter” right next to “Whole Lotta Love,” and the chart debut of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” It also includes the sort of forgotten singles we really dig around these parts. A few of them appear on the flip.

24. “Gotta Make You Mine”/Velvet Crest (up from 31). From Mineral City, Ohio, the Velvet Crest was formed in 1966 and apparently performed under several different names with an ever-changing cast of musicians before splintering in 1971. They were big in Oshkosh. WOSH would chart the flipside of “Gotta Make You Mine,” the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song “Lookin’ Through the Eyes of Love,” and show both in their Top 10 later in February.

32. “Lu”/Peggy Lipton (up from 36). The Mod Squad star recorded two albums on the Ode label in the late 60s, which included several songs by Carole King and Gerry Goffin along with some Laura Nyro covers. An overly busy arrangement of “Lu” is one of the latter, and one of three Lipton singles that bubbled under the Hot 100 between 1968 and 1970 (although it reached the Top 10 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and came close in Canton, Ohio). Bonus trivia fact: Before marrying Quincy Jones in 1974, she dated Paul McCartney, Elvis, and Keith Moon. Here she is doing a shaky lip-sync of “Lu” on The Andy Williams Show, and holy smokes she’s gorgeous.

47. “Hey Bulldog”/Coachmen (down from 43). A band from Appleton, Wisconsin (just up the road from Oshkosh), that released two singles on the Target label, also from Appleton, in 1969. They are sometimes confused with another band called the Coachmen, who were based in Milwaukee in the early 1960s, but unless you’re digging through crates of singles in Wisconsin, that probably won’t be a problem for you.

48. “Good Morning Love”/Bleus (down from 28). The Bleus should probably have hit it bigger than they did. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, sometime in 1965 or 1966, they won a battle of the bands competition over the Hour Glass, a group that included Duane and Gregg Allman. They became a popular act in the Southeast, and had recordings produced by prominent session man and songwriter Eddie Hinton and by Chips Moman, who set up a label for the sole purpose of releasing a single he made with them. They recorded at Muscle Shoals and were backed on a few tracks by the Allmans. “Good Morning Love,” co-written and produced by Hinton, is an odd mix of barrelhouse piano, flute, and Southern boogie. That link is worth a click to see the excellent Diamond label on the 45.

49. “Room 222″/American Group (debut). Chips Moman reappears as the producer of this group of Memphis studio musicians, many of whom appeared on more famous recordings of the era. The American Group released several singles on AGP, a label owned by Moman and studio cat Tommy Cogbill. “Room 222” is a version of the theme from the TV show, which was then in the middle of its first season on the air.

One thought on “Big in Oshkosh

  1. porky

    forgive me for mentioning Dan Fogelberg (you two have a history, right?) but his first band was also called The Coachmen.

    A highlight from our early 70’s trip to California was my aunt pointing out the high school used in the exterior shots of “Room 222.” I was easily impressed back then.

    That chart, BTW is tremendous. I was absorbing AM radio big-time in that period.

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