(Normally I would post a vintage pic of an artist I mention in one of these posts. This is a 2016 shot of Emmylou Harris, who will turn 70 this spring and is absolutely stunning.)
Random radio surveys, random observations:
WOSH/Oshkosh, January 31, 1977: A few weekends ago, I posted an old WISM radio survey on Magic 98’s Facebook page and asked which song on the list people wanted to hear. “Living Next Door to Alice” by Smokie (#12 this week on WOSH) got the most requests. I have always had a soft spot for that song, partly because I have a soft spot for everything from the winter of 1977, but also because the main hook is a monster (“Oh, I don’t know why she’s leavin’ / Or where she’s gonna go”), and songs about unrequited love are eternally in my wheelhouse.
Some radio stations sent their surveys to the printer every week for an ultra-professional look. (See KAKC below.) Others simply had somebody type up the list of songs on a form and run off a few hundred on the office copier. The hand-typed ones occasionally yield extra entertainment, as on this WOSH survey, which lists the new Bee Gees hit “Boobie Child.”
Hey, Beavis, he said “boobie.”
(Late edit: commenter Tim, who was at WOSH in 1977, offers additional info on the survey printing and “Living Next Door to Alice” here.)
WAMS, Wilmington, DE, January 24, 1970: Here’s something you didn’t see much back in the day: a single debuting at #1. “How Can I Tell My Mom and Dad” is by the Lovelites, a trio of young women from a Chicago housing project. It’s about teen pregnancy, and not in an oblique way, including the line “he made me a mother-to-be,” which undoubtedly kept some stations away from it. The song made #60 on the Hot 100 in a 10-week run and did big business on the soul chart. In addition to its success in Wilmington, it was a Top-10 hit down I-95 in Baltimore and up I-95 in Philadelphia. I have not been able to determine why this song was such a rager in a relatively small geographical area.
WNTN, Newton, MA, January 22, 1984: Although WNTN identified as an R&B station, its survey includes “Talking in Your Sleep” by the Romantics and “99 Red Balloons” by Nena. The survey is topped by “Where Is My Man” by Eartha Kitt, famed for “Santa Baby” in the 50s and as one of the actresses who played Catwoman on Batman. It made the Top 10 of Billboard‘s dance chart.
WPIX, New York, January 22, 1976: Emmylou Harris released two albums in 1975, Pieces of the Sky and Elite Hotel, each of which produced a pop-chart single. The great “If I Could Only Win Your Love” went to #58 in the early fall of 1975. Her cover of the Beatles’ “Here, There, and Everywhere,” which will be the most beautiful thing you hear today, was on WPIX as an album cut, although it would eventually make #65 on the Hot 100. Emmylou Harris wouldn’t hit the pop charts again until 1980, although she was a fixture on the country charts from 1975 through 1984 or so.
KAKC, Tulsa, January 21, 1967: This is a really good-looking survey, nicely co-branded with Pepsi and listing at least 75 songs. While it was common to show both sides of a two-sided hit with the same chart number, as KAKC does with the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” and “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone,” KAKC does something I’ve never seen before. It lists two different versions of the same song with the same number: “There Goes My Everything” by both Don Cherry and Jack Greene at #25, “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” by Jane Morgan and Lainie Kazan at #38, and “The Dis-Advantages of You” by the Brass Ring and the Answer as a Hitbound.
“The Dis-Advantages of You” is a song we’ve written about previously. It was originally used in an ad for Benson and Hedges cigarettes, a TV spot you are likely to remember seeing if you’re old enough. You’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the Brass Ring and Answer versions, although it was the one by the Brass Ring that made it to #36 on the Hot 100 50 years ago this spring.
(Programming note: please to be remembering that One Day in Your Life is now its own separate blog. You can keep track of the latest posts in the left-hand column of this blog.)