Gonna Make Your Life So Sweet

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(Pictured: the Beatles and CCR had a very good 1969, but it took ’em several releases to make it. The Archies ruled with just one.)

Here are more year-end radio surveys from 1969.

WSRF, Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
1. “One”/Three Dog Night
95. “I Want You Back”/Jackson Five
Notable: “Soul Experience” by Iron Butterfly, “Did You See Her Eyes” by the Illusion, “Wishful Sinful” by the Doors, and “I’m Free” by the Who at #74 through #77.

WWCO, Waterbury, Connecticut:
1. “Honky Tonk Women”/Rolling Stones
100. “Something in the Air”/Thunderclap Newman
Notable: The absolutely fabulous “Walking in Different Circles” by the Elves at #99. The band, formerly known as the Electric Elves and later as just Elf, was founded by singer and bassist Ronnie James Dio.

KEWI, Topeka, Kansas:
1. “Sugar Sugar”/Archies
100. “Rock Me”/Steppenwolf
Notable: This chart has some fine obscurities on it, including the propulsive “Paul’s Midnight Ride” by the Delights Orchestra at #15 and “Green Door” by the Jerms at #49. “Green Door” is a psychedelic cover of the 1956 #1 hit by Jim Lowe; it was recorded in Nashville, but of the Jerms we know practically nothing else.

WCVS, Springfield, Illinois:
1. “Dizzy”/Tommy Roe
100. “It’s Your Thing”/Isley Brothers
Notable: Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” at #84. People forget (and by “people,” I mean “me,” until I looked it up) that it went to #19 on the Hot 100 in February 1969.

WLOB, Portland, Maine:
1. “Crimson and Clover”/Tommy James
100. “Cinnamon”/Derek
Notable: “A Boy Named Sue,” the First Edition’s “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” “Stand By Your Man,” and CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising” at #23 through #26. That’s a down-home quarter hour for a Top 40 station.

WHNC, New Haven, Connecticut:
1. “Get Together”/Youngbloods
100. “Malinda”/Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers
Notable: “Mama Soul” by the Soul Survivors at #24. Best known for the early Gamble-and-Huff production “Expressway to Your Heart,” the band hit the Hot 100 two other times, but not with “Mama Soul,” which was produced by Rick Hall. At #87 is “A Beautiful Day” by the Bridge, a bubbly sunshine pop number by a group that I am guessing was from New Haven or nearby.

KTKT, Tucson, Arizona:
1. “Green River”-“Commotion”/Creedence Clearwater Revival
2. “Something”-“Come Together”/Beatles
99. “Oh Happy Day”/Edwin Hawkins Singers
Notable: The double-sided “Atlantis” and “To Susan on the West Coast Waiting” by Donovan at #57; the double-sided “The Weight” and “Tracks of My Tears” by Aretha Franklin at #90; “I Threw It All Away” by Bob Dylan, from Nashville Skyline, at #95.

WISM, Madison, Wisconsin:
1. “Something”-“Come Together”/Beatles
5. “Bad Moon Rising”-“Lodi”/Creedence Clearwater Revival
10. “Proud Mary”/Creedence Clearwater Revival
11. “Green River”-“Commotion”/Creedence Clearwater Revival
12. “Don’t Let Me Down”-“Get Back”/Beatles
100. “I’m Gonna Make You Mine”/Lou Christie
Notable: This chart is a great indication of the reach of the Beatles and CCR in this year. “Birthday” by Underground Sunshine, a Wisconsin band managed by WISM’s Jonathan Little, was a significant national hit, and checks in here at #33. WISM was the only station in the country to put “Don’t Shut Me Out” on a 1969 year-end chart, at #76, although it shows up in a few weekly ARSA listings at stations across the country. (Beyond my link in the previous sentence, you can read more about Underground Sunshine here.)

KMEN, San Bernardino, California:
1. “Come Together”-“Something”/Beatles
100. “Simple Song of Freedom”/Tim Hardin
Notable: The charming and clever “Day After Day” by Shango, at #76, was co-written by Stuart Margolin, better known as an actor and whose face you would certainly recognize. One of the members of Shango was Tommy Reynolds, eventually of Hamilton Joe Frank and Reynolds. At #77, “Apricot Brandy” is by Rhinoceros, a funk/rock band assembled by record producer Paul Rothchild, famed for his work with the Doors and Janis Joplin.

WLS, Chicago, Illinois:
1. “Sugar Sugar”/Archies
89. “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’/Crazy Elephant
Notable: While the Beatles’ “Get Back” is at #14, “Come Together” and “Something” are way down at #62.

WABC, New York:
1. “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In”/Fifth Dimension
100. “This Girl’s in Love With You”/Dionne Warwick
Notable: “Get Back” is #4; “Come Together,” without “Something,” is at #56.

WCOL, Columbus, Ohio:
1. “Good Morning Starshine”/Oliver
2. “Hair”/Cowsills
100. “Did You See Her Eyes”/The Illusion
Notable: In addition to Oliver and the Cowsills, there’s more Hair flavor down at #88 with Three Dog Night’s version of “Easy to Be Hard.” At #18 is Who’s Nuts Alfred” by J. D. Blackfoot. Blackfoot, born Benjamin Franklin Van Dervort, was a Cleveland native who made a couple of highly regarded psychedelic albums after “Who’s Nuts Alfred,” which is sadly not found at YouTube.

Cash Box
1. “Sugar Sugar”/Archies
100. “Oh What a Night”/Dells
Notable: Cash Box lists “Easy to Be Hard” at both #12 and #31. Its survey is also the only one I’ve seen that shows “Come Together” and “Something” in separate positions, at #63 and #66.

Clearly, “Sugar Sugar” was the consensus #1 song of 1969 across the country. Your mileage may vary.

5 thoughts on “Gonna Make Your Life So Sweet

  1. Charlie Gamble

    It took me years to find it….but Birthday by the Underground Sunshine on CD is on this CD collection: “Disc Jockey Hits 1”. Here’s the track listing: 1. Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight – The Spaniels; 2. In The Still Of The Night – The Five Satins; 3. To The Aisle – The Five Satins; 4. The Deck Of Cards – Wink Martindale; 5. She Wears My Ring – Jimmy Bell; 6. The Peppermint Twist, Pt. 1 – Joey Dee & The Starliters; 7. The Peppermint Twist, Pt. 2 – Joey Dee & The Starliters; 8. Twist And Shout – The Isley Brothers; 9. The Loco-Motion – Little Eva; 10. My Dad – Paul Petersen; 11. Who Stole the Keeshka? – The Matys Brothers; 12. Let’s Turkey Trot – Little Eva; 13. Sugar Shack – Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs; 14. White On White – Danny Williams; 15. Wild Thing – The Troggs; 16. Birthday – The Underground Sunshine; 17. Beautiful Sunday – Daniel Boone; 18. Rock & Roll, Pt. 1 – Gary Glitter; 19. Rock & Roll, Pt. 2 – Gary Glitter; 20. Feelings – Morris Albert.

  2. Pingback: December 31, 1969: That’s the Way It Is | The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

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