14 Feet of Soul

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(Pictured: eight feet of Beatles, 1969.)

I thought it would be fun to go through all of the 1969 year-end music surveys at ARSA to see what I could see, but I got partway through and started thinking, no, this is too much even for a geek with time on his hands. So here’s a couple dozen of them, not necessarily the most interesting ones, but a mix of stations big and small, in no particular order, and in two parts.

WTIX, New Orleans, Louisiana:
1. “Everyday People”/Sly and the Family Stone
69. “Mind Body and Soul”/Flaming Ember
Notable: “Gotta Have Love” by Paul Varisco and the Milestones at #33, “Superlove” by David and the Giants at #43, and “Girls Are Made for Lovin'” by Elliot Small at #57, all local New Orleans/Louisiana/southern Mississippi acts.

KIMN, Denver, Colorado:
1. “Honky Tonk Women”/Rolling Stones
100. “Take a Letter Maria”/R. B. Greaves
Notable: “Albatross” by Fleetwood Mac at #76. It’s charted high several times in the UK over the years, but never got a sniff of the national charts here despite being hypnotically gorgeous.

WPDQ, Jacksonville, Florida:
1. “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In”/Fifth Dimension
100. “See”/Rascals
Notable: The Rascals hit the national Top 40 four times in 1969, but none of the four ever made it into onto good times/great oldies radio. “Love and Let Love” by the Hardy Boys (shown in a tie with BS&T’s “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”), is at #40, a cash-in on the Hardy Boys Saturday morning cartoon show that had premiered in the fall of 1969.

KYSN, Colorado Springs, Colorado:
1. “Honky Tonk Women”/Rolling Stones
69. “Big Bruce”/Steve Greenberg
Notable: “Big Bruce” is a parody of Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John” that was yanked after a lawsuit from “Big Bad John”‘s publishers and reissued after the resemblance was toned down. Its homosexual stereotypes ain’t funny anymore. Four double-sided Creedence Clearwater Revival singles appear on the KYSN chart: “Proud Mary”/”Born on the Bayou” at #10; “Green River”/”Commotion” at #12; “Bad Moon Rising”/”Lodi” at #24; and “Down on the Corner”/”Fortunate Son” at #40. We’ll see them elsewhere.

WCOP, Boston (a country station):
1. “Harper Valley PTA”/Jeannie C. Riley
2. “Wichita Lineman”/Glen Campbell
3. “A Boy Named Sue”/Johnny Cash
Notable: Aren’t those three notable enough? How about Campbell’s “Galveston” at #6, Porter Wagoner’s superb story-song “The Carroll County Accident” at #10, or Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” at #18? “Harper Valley PTA” came out late in the summer of 1968 but clearly had plenty of staying power, at least in Boston.

KLMS, Lincoln, Nebraska:
1. “In the Year 2525″/Zager and Evans
40. “Good Old Rock and Roll”/Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys
Notable: KLMS headlines the survey as the “Top 148 of 1969 (Only 40 Really).” The highest-ranked Beatles song is “The Ballad of John and Yoko” at #4; “Get Back” is at #29; “Come Together”/”Something,” which appears on practically every other year-end survey in the country, does not appear at all.

KBZY, Salem, Oregon:
1. “Sugar Sugar”/Archies
100. “More Today Than Yesterday”/Spiral Starecase
Notable: Two Tommy James records in the Top 10, and neither one is “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” which is at #24: “Crimson and Clover” is  #2 and “Sweet Cherry Wine” is #10. The Nightcrawlers, a Florida band, charted in a few places in 1965 and in more as 1966 turned to 1967 with “The Little Black Egg” (#91). A handful of stations in the Pacific Northwest charted it in 1969.

WBAM, Montgomery, Alabama
1. “Honky Tonk Women”/Rolling Stones
100. “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”/Jackie DeShannon
Notable: “No Not Much” by the Smoke Ring at #25, a record we have dug around here for a long time, and “Hold Me” by the Baskerville Hounds, a Cleveland-area garage band, at #30. At #68, there’s a smoothly soulful cover of the Platters tune “With This Ring” by an Alabama group called 14 Feet of Soul. (Seven members equals 14 feet.)

WVLK, Lexington, Kentucky:
1. “Wedding Bell Blues”/Fifth Dimension
59. “Sweet Cherry Wine”/Tommy James and the Shondells
Notable: “Church St. Soul Revival” by the Exiles, at #3, was written and produced by Tommy James, who later recorded it himself. The band, from Richmond, Kentucky, later became Exile, and hit #1 with “Kiss You All Over” in 1978.

WTPS, Kalamazoo, Michigan:
1. “Touch Me”/Doors
69. “Witchi Tai To”/Everything Is Everything
Notable: “Condition Red” by the Goodees at #9. The Goodees were a trio of white girls from Memphis who recorded on a Stax subsidiary; “Condition Red” got up to #46 on the Hot 100. At #55 is the Frost, one of the legends of Michigan rock ‘n’ roll, sounding a bit ahead of their time on “Mystery Man.”

Billboard:
1. “Sugar Sugar”/Archies
100. (tie) “Sweet Cream Ladies”/Box Tops and “Let Me”/Paul Revere and the Raiders.
Notable: Ties were not unheard-of on the Billboard year-end charts, but having the only one of 1969 at #100 smacks of a couple of editors resolving a disagreement by cutting the baby in half.

There are more to come on Monday.

4 responses

  1. First off, JB, congrats again on surpassing 1 million cume and counting. A couple of quick observations:

    1) With the glaring exception of Big Bruce, the songs that finished last in these surveys in 1969 have held up pretty well, in my opinion. “Witchi Tai To” isn’t as familiar and certainly doesn’t receive as many spins on oldies stations as most of them do, but it’s solid and worthy of more action nonetheless to my ears.
    2) I’m assuming that the action on the Jacksonville station was the main reason why “Love and Let Love” managed to bubble under nationally on Billboard. Obviously the executives behind the Filmation studios that created the Archies cartoon show thought they could have another “Sugar Sugar” with a different show. They probably weren’t counting on the hit Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? running opposite it on CBS.
    3) Did any stations do a top 40/69/100 count of the biggest hits of the decade? I’m almost sure one did, but I’m too lazy to research the ARSA surveys like you are to determine that. If that’s the case, I’d love to hear your assessment of them sometime soon too.

  2. Is it wrong that the song I come away from this post humming is “Touch Me”?

  3. I voice tracked from 2012 to 2015 at a small “Boomer Tunes” station in Conneaut, Ohio. I recall vividly that the station PD/part-owner had “Everything Is Everything” and “Good Old Rock And Roll” in hos station music library. So, there was another fan of those songs even before I became familiar with those songs.

  4. […] second only to Laugh-In in the ratings. Around the country tonight, radio stations spotlight their top hits of […]

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