It’s What You Want

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(Pictured: ABBA on Saturday Night Live in November 1975. They were one of the few acts in the history of the show to lip-sync, because Lorne Michaels didn’t believe they could sing live.)

We have spent a lot of time in 1971 around here lately. Let’s come forward in time a bit and listen to the American Top 40 show from November 22, 1975.

39. “Theme From Mahogany”/Diana Ross
38. “I Write the Songs”/Barry Manilow
34. “Love Rollercoaster”/Ohio Players
Seven songs debut on the show in this week. Three of them would reach #1 in January 1976.

37. “For the Love of You”/Isley Brothers
23. “S.O.S.”/ABBA

19. “I Only Have Eyes for You”/Art Garfunkel
18. “Eighteen With a Bullet”/Pete Wingfield

14. “Miracles”/Jefferson Starship
12. “Lyin’ Eyes”/Eagles

8. “Low Rider”/War
Any one of these could be the best song on the show were it not for #13 below. The ultra-smooth “For the Love of You” would get to #22 during Christmas week. That “Eighteen With a Bullet” would end up at #18 in some week was inevitable. And as I’ve said before, “Lyin’ Eyes” is another case of Glenn Frey and Don Henley revealing themselves as terrible people through the lyrics they write, but at the same time, it’s beautifully performed and anchored in time and place, so sue me if I still like it.

36. “The Last Game of the Season”/David Geddes. Casey answers a listener letter asking which song debuted the highest on the chart in 1975. In the Top 40, it’s “Old Days” by Chicago, which came on at #17 back in the summer. On the Hot 100, it was “The Last Game of the Season,” which had come on the previous week at #44. My tolerance for 70s cheese is higher than most people’s, and I’ve heard “The Last Game of the Season” many times, but this time, I couldn’t make it to the end.

33. “Brazil”/Ritchie Family
32. “I’m on Fire”/5000 Volts
25. “Our Day Will Come”/Frankie Valli
Three flavors of early disco. The Ritchie Family was a studio group created by Village People impresario Jacques Morali. 5000 Volts was a real group, although due to a contractual issue, lead singer Tina Charles did not appear when the group performed “I’m on Fire” live and on TV. “Our Day Will Come” takes three minutes to do not very much.

28. “Secret Love”/Freddy Fender. Fender had two big country-to-pop  crossover hits in 1975, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” and “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.” “Secret Love,” made famous by Doris Day, was not destined to be the third, but Fender sings the hell out of it.

27. “Venus and Mars-Rock Show”/Paul McCartney and Wings. Casey welcomes new stations to the AT40 family this week, including KSTT in Davenport, Iowa. I’ve mentioned KSTT before as a dominant local station that was every bit as hot and fun and important to its community as bigger and more famous major market stations were. By 1975, it had been a Top 40 powerhouse for nearly 20 years.

15. “My Little Town”/Simon and Garfunkel. In October, Garfunkel’s Breakaway and Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years came out within two weeks of each other; between the two release dates, Paul and Artie sang together on the second episode of Saturday Night Live.

13. “They Just Can’t Stop It (Games People Play)”/Spinners. I have said before that “Games People Play” is my favorite single of all time, another genius production by Thom Bell, arresting from the first second, smooth and soulful all the way home. It’s a time-and-place record for me, certainly, but I have listened to it so often since the fall of 1975 that it’s not as firmly anchored there as others on this show.

7. “Feelings”/Morris Albert. Casey says that “Feelings” has been around for 23 weeks (on the Hot 100) and that it has recently started moving up the chart again after slipping down. It had peaked at #6 on October 25 and then fell to #7 and #9 before creeping back up to #8 and then to #7 in this week. After falling out of the Top 40 in mid-December, it would make two more upward turns before exiting the Hot 100 in late January. Its 32-week run was the longest of 1975.

4. “Island Girl”/Elton John
3. “Who Loves You”/Four Seasons
2. “Fly Robin Fly”/Silver Convention
1. “That’s the Way (I Like It)”/KC and the Sunshine Band
Silver Convention is up from #16 the week before; KC leaps from #6 to #1, taking out Elton after three weeks. Casey notes that “Island Girl” had made Elton the first act of the 70s to have five #1 singles.

Your mileage may vary, but at 46 years’ distance, this show still sounds like 70s Top 40 glory to me, full of songs that are inventive, hooky, uptempo, and fun. If you turn on the radio to be entertained, it’s what you want.

Long Ago and Far Away

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(Pictured: James Taylor on The Johnny Cash Show, 1971.)

I said a couple of weeks ago that I was going to listen to the American Top 40 show from November 13, 1971, but maybe not write about it. How silly of me.

Casey opens the show by thanking Dave Hull, who filled in the previous week when Casey was late returning from a film shoot. It was the first time AT40 ever used a guest host; a charming memo included with the cue sheet for the 11/6 show explains that Hull “has logged 69 consecutive weeks of emergency standby status.” The movie in which Casey was acting, which he referred to as That Lovin’ Man Jesus, was eventually released under the title Soul Hustler, but not until 1973. It apparently includes a scene with Casey in a speedo. 

Now on with the countdown:

40. “Cherish”/David Cassidy
21. “Family Affair”/Sly and the Family Stone
13. “Got to Be There”/Michael Jackson
8. “Have You Seen Her”/Chi-Lites
3. “Imagine”/John Lennon
2. “Shaft”/Isaac Hayes

There’s a lot of chart action in this week. “Cherish” and “Family Affair” are in their second week on the Hot 100. “Family Affair” was up 29 spots from #50, but “Cherish” was up 47 from #87. “Got to Be There,” meanwhile, is in its third week on the Hot 100 and has gone 89-39-13, the biggest mover within the Top 40 this week. “Have You Seen Her” has gone 60-21-14-8. “Imagine” debuted on the Hot 10 at #20 three weeks earlier then went 6-4-3, but will go no higher. “Shaft” went 50-9-5-2, and is holding at #2 this week on its way to #1 next week.

36. “Long Ago and Far Away”/James Taylor
31. “A Natural Man”/Lou Rawls
Casey introduces each of these with what the AT40 staff called the “tease and hook.” The one for “Long Ago and Far Away” is a doozy: “Coming up in the next 10 minutes, the current hit by a superstar whose mother nearly died of bee stings because his father was at the South Pole with Admiral Byrd.” Taylor’s father, a physician, was an amateur beekeeper, and he left Taylor’s mother to take care of the bees while he accompanied Byrd on an expedition during the late 50s, during which an accident happened. For “A Natural Man,” Casey says it’s “the current hit by a singing star who lost his memory in a car accident one night and didn’t regain it until he was out of the hospital and back on stage, in the middle of a song.” The tease is pretty much the whole story; at the end of the telling, Casey pretends not to be able to remember Rawls’ name.

26. “Absolutely Right”/Five Man Electrical Band
20. “Only You Know and I Know”/Delaney and Bonnie
15. “Desiderata”/Les Crane

Fifty years’ time means that a lot of this music will sound dated now. But some of it would sound dated within a couple of years.

22. “Rock Steady”/Aretha Franklin
18. “Easy Lovin'”/Freddie Hart
17. “Tired of Being Alone”/Al Green
16. “Everybody’s Everything”/Santana
14. “Do You Know What I Mean”/Lee Michaels
10. “Superstar”/Carpenters
5. “I Found Someone of My Own”/Free Movement
4. “Maggie May”/Rod Stewart

Any one of these could be the best song on the show. OK, “Easy Lovin'” is clearly not the best, but I will always fanboy for it, and the best song might be “A Natural Man” or “Have You Seen Her” anyway. And get a load of “Maggie,” in her ninth week among the top four songs in the land.

12. “Never My Love”/Fifth Dimension. Writing about it last month, I called “Never My Love” a live recording. I’m grateful to our friend Wesley for a correction. “Never My Love” was a studio recording with applause dubbed in, although it appeared on the group’s live album.

EXTRA: “Poor Side of Town”/Johnny Rivers. This is an modern-day extra offered by Premiere Radio Networks to help affiliates fill time. Casey says it’s the #1 song “five years ago today.” But it wasn’t part of the AT40 show dated 11/13/71. It’s taken from the 11/20 show, when it technically wasn’t the #1 song of five years ago anymore, having been knocked out by the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” on the chart dated 11/19/66.

1. “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”/Cher. “I was 16, he was 21 / Rode with us to Memphis / And Papa woulda shot him if he knew what he’d done.” I started wondering the other day if 11-year-old me understood what that meant. I hadn’t gotten the talk yet, I don’t think. I was just another innocent sixth-grader, but one with an obsession, glued to my radio every moment possible, as autumn began to turn toward Christmas.

We’re not quite done with this season yet, I don’t think.

Tale of the Tape

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(Pictured: record producer Mickie Most in 1975 with a Teac A-3300 tape machine, once a fixture in radio stations and recording studios.)

If you visit the American Top 40 archive at Charis Music Group, you can see the original cue sheets for the shows from the very first one in 1970 to the end of Casey’s run and beyond. For the earliest shows, you see something even more interesting—the rundown sheets used to plan and execute the show. The one for the show dated October 30, 1971, has handwritten calculations of the show’s running time. It also includes master log sheets, which indicate that each hour of the program was delivered on two reels of tape, with the audio on each tape preceded by a series of tones to help radio stations calibrate the output of the tape machines on which the show would play.

Syndicated shows that were delivered on tape often had to be returned to the syndicator so that the tapes could be reused. If that seems a little bit crazy, it probably was, although we didn’t think much about it back then. In an analog world, sound quality was as good as we could make it, and that didn’t necessarily mean it was pristine. Shows like American Top 40 were high-speed duplicates—they were not mastered in real time—and that meant a certain loss of audio quality. And while there were certainly methods of quality control to make sure damaged tapes weren’t reused, it was not unheard-of for a station to receive a copy of a syndicated show that had a splice in the tape, or a distortion from a slightly stretched tape.

At some point in the 70s, it became feasible for shows such as AT40 to be pressed on to vinyl discs. These often had calibration tones, and some shows were lock-banded, meaning that at the end of each segment, the needle would not advance to the next segment without being manually moved.

(In my personal library, I had a vinyl copy of some old show with calibration tones, and I used it to set levels on my cassette deck before making mix tapes. There are people reading this post right now who are nodding and thinking, “Yup, I did that.”)

It was not until the turn of the 90s that it became common for shows to be delivered on CD, although vinyl and even tape delivery continued, depending on what the syndicator chose to do. Today, shows are delivered via an audio server; for American Top 40, you log onto a password-protected website and download it. Some shows are even delivered automatically, directly to whatever automation system a station is using, at a predetermined time.

But back to the handwritten rundown sheets: one of the endearing things about the early days of AT40 was that it was basically a live radio show captured on tape. If Casey flubbed his last line of a segment, they’d go back and record the entire segment, which meant sitting through the records and revoicing the other lines too. (This maybe explains some of the oddball errors and near-mistakes that slip through: “aw hell, it ain’t that bad, leave it in.”) The on-the-fly nature of the early shows is also seen in the handwritten notes on the rundown sheets. They were up against the clock every hour. On 10/30/71 and other shows, rundown sheets have one title scratched out and replaced with another, either for purposes of time or for some other spur-of-the-moment reason.

And there’s also this: during the first year or two of AT40, Casey would sometimes play a track from the #1 album of the week. During the week of October 30, 1971, it was John Lennon’s Imagine. Based on the rundown sheet, it looks like the AT40 staff didn’t decide what cut to play from Imagine until they’d started taping the show. They may have picked “Oh My Love” because it was the right length to help fill out the first hour.

(However they chose it, “Oh My Love,” which credits George Harrison on guitar, is the deepest cut I’ve ever heard on AT40.)

We’ve heard from AT40 staffers who say that at the time, they weren’t thinking about any of the minuscule stuff we notice here—they were just making a radio show. I’ve said myself that the shows were never intended to be examined on a molecular level. But, as you know from your own obsessions, nuts and bolts can take on an incredible fascination. So it is with the most popular syndicated radio music show of all time, and nerds such as we.

Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get

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There’s nothing intrinsically special about round numbers. We are the ones who assign significance to 10, 20, 50, or 100 that we don’t give to 9, 22, 49, or 101. We find round numbers aesthetically pleasing, and so they make attractive denominations for the days of our lives. Which is a roundabout way of saying that I enjoyed listening to the American Top 40 show from September 4, 1971, more this past week than I might have a year ago, or a year from now.

Casey notes that there are eight new songs on the show, but his audience doesn’t get to hear all of them. What I mean is that nearly every song in the first hour is either edited or faded early. I suspect this was done in 1971 and not by his modern-day producers because he needs to get 13 songs in, and one of them is the full 6:10 of Tom Clay’s “What the World Needs Now/Abraham Martin and John,” the novelty rage of the summer. I’ve mentioned it before; it’s made up of news clips from the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK, backed with music and including the voice of a little girl who is unable to define terms like segregation, bigotry, and prejudice. Clay was a Los Angeles DJ who produced “What the World Needs Now” for his local show on KGBS, but after Motown made it the first 45 release on its new West Coast imprint Mowest, it blasted into the national Top 10. It scratched some national itch in the summer of 1971 and then disappeared from the radio as fast as it had come. And it’s a long, tedious listen today.

The first hour has some spectacular 1971 flavor: well-remembered hits like Carole King’s “So Far Away” and Tommy James’ “Draggin’ the Line”; oddballs like the Guess Who’s “Rain Dance” (which features the enigmatic line, “I’m still sittin’ with my next-door neighbor sayin’, ‘Where’d you get the gun, John?'”), Bobby Russell’s domestic novelty “Saturday Morning Confusion,” and “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep”; plus a couple of records that should be better-remembered than they are: the Jackson Five’s “Maybe Tomorrow” and the Moody Blues’ “The Story in Your Eyes.”

The second hour has another long song to fit in, Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May,” with a label time of 5:15. Casey gets the whole thing on, likely because it’s the hottest record of the week, up to #19 from #36 the week before. Also in the second hour: former #1 hits “Indian Reservation” and “You’ve Got a Friend,” George Harrison’s highly topical “Bangla Desh,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

There are some weird little oddments in this show. There’s a 1971 network commercial for American Top 40’s Double Dozen, a compilation of 50s and 60s hits with liner notes by Casey, sold by mail order. It was heavily promoted on the show during the summer of 1971, although the spots, which sometimes appeared outside of the normal break structure, are usually cut from the modern-day repeats. Also, coming up short at the end of the second hour, Casey chooses to repeat the titles of the eight new songs from the first hour, which he’s already recapped once before.

There’s another one of those incredible AM radio streaks at the end of the second hour and into the third, starting with “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Maggie May” back to back, and then:

18. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”/Joan Baez
17. “Stick-Up”/Honey Cone
16. “Sweet Hitch-Hiker”/CCR
15. “Beginnings”/Chicago
14. “Riders on the Storm”/Doors
13. “Mercy Mercy Me”/Marvin Gaye
12. “Mr. Big Stuff”/Jean Knight
11. “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get”/Dramatics
10. “I Just Want to Celebrate”/Rare Earth
9. “Liar”/Three Dog Night
8. “Signs”/Five Man Electrical Band
7. “Take Me Home Country Roads”/John Denver

6. “Ain’t No Sunshine”/Bill Withers
Either “Mercy Mercy Me” or the astounding “Stick-Up” is the best thing here, but taken altogether, this is why you turned the radio on in the summer of 1971, and a good reason to do it today. Donny Osmond’s future #1 “Go Away Little Girl” is at #5; it’s awful, but all things considered that summer, it was never not going to end up a smash. Without it, the streak goes all the way:

4. “Spanish Harlem”/Aretha Franklin
3. “Smiling Faces Sometimes”/Undisputed Truth
2. “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”/Bee Gees
1. “Uncle Albert-Admiral Halsey”/Paul and Linda McCartney
“Go Away Little Girl” will commit the grave injustice of keeping “Spanish Harlem” at #2, although Aretha will make #1 in many cities. Meanwhile, “Uncle Albert” jumps to #1 from #12 the previous week in only its third week on the chart, taking out the Bee Gees after four weeks at the top.

Your mileage may vary, but it occurs to me that a Top 20 with only one certified clunker puts the week of September 4, 1971, into the discussion of best weeks ever.

There Goes My Baby

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(Pictured: Tina Turner in 1984.)

The mid-80s are Casey Kasem’s Imperial Period. American Top 40 is on hundreds of radio stations coast to coast and around the world, and Casey possesses The Most Famous Voice in America, even if, in his early 50s, he sometimes sounds like a friendly but out-of-touch dad trying to relate to his teenage daughter by telling her something he read in a magazine. Here’s some of what he was telling about on the show from September 1, 1984.

37. “There Goes My Baby”/Donna Summer
33. “I Just Called to Say I Love You”/Stevie Wonder
Casey does a feature on the Drifters’ “There Goes My Baby,” the first record of the rock ‘n’ roll era with strings, and he talks about Stevie’s 1973 car wreck and coma. Each of them is fine although they both go on too long, and they come awfully close together. Casey plays only nine songs in the first hour of the show.

32. “Panama”/Van Halen
26. “We’re Not Gonna Take It”/Twisted Sister
Exhibits A and B for what can happen when people take pop music too seriously. Twisted Sister wasn’t going to single-handedly corrupt American youth no matter what the Parents Music Resource Council claimed. Meanwhile, David Lee Roth’s hilariously stupid monologue in the middle of “Panama” (“I can barely see the road from the heat comin’ off”) makes me think that Van Halen was basically a novelty act that happened to include a generationally great guitarist. It’s as if Charlie Parker played in the Spike Jones Orchestra.

30. “Torture”/Jacksons
29. “Dancing in the Dark”/Bruce Springsteen

22. “Cover Me”/Bruce Springsteen
20. “Dynamite”/Jermaine Jackson
18. “State of Shock”/Jacksons
8. “Let’s Go Crazy”/Prince
5. “When Doves Cry”/Prince

Casey notes that three acts have two songs on the survey, crediting Jermaine for his return to the Jacksons on “Torture.” (He’s not on “State of Shock.”)

25. “Sad Songs (Say So Much)”/Elton John. Casey says Elton has hit the Top 40 for 15 consecutive years since 1970, trailing only Elvis, who did it for 22 years. Elton’s streak would eventually reach 30.

24. “Sexy Girl”/Glenn Frey. A man should not call a grown woman a girl, unless she’s his daughter. So that’s one strike against this record. And if Frey’s girl really is a girl, under the age of 18, that’s strike two. Strike three is repeating the phrase “sexy girl” maybe 50 times (estimate) in three minutes as if he were doing aversion therapy.

LDD: “Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)”/Joey Scarbury. Casey takes nearly two minutes to read a letter from a 17-year-old boy about four older women he used to work with at a toy store. The letter implies that they helped him grow up; unfortunately, it doesn’t say that they turned him into a man. Now that would be a letter worth reading.

17. “Rock Me Tonite”/Billy Squier
14. “Drive”/Cars
11. “The Warrior”/Scandal
10. “If Ever You’re in My Arms Again”/Peabo Bryson
One of these is the best record on the show, if it isn’t “Sad Songs (Say So Much),” or the one of the top two songs below.

13. “Lights Out”/Peter Wolf. Casey introduces this by correcting his previous week’s list of solo acts whose names are also animal names (“from Adam Ant to Eddie Rabbitt,” he says, which is making me cringe even without hearing it) to include Ronnie Dove.

9. “If This Is It”/Huey Lewis and the News. Which baseball fan Casey introduces by telling that Lewis and band sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the recent major league all-star game, and helpfully reports that the National League won the game 3-1.

7. “Sunglasses at Night/Corey Hart. Which Casey introduces with a story about aspiring songwriter Hart losing $200 while seated next to Carly Simon at a blackjack table. He hoped to sell her one of his songs. She hoped he was a better songwriter than blackjack player.

LDD: “Heartlight”/Neil Diamond. From a schoolteacher to her little brother, who was befriended by late New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson, although what that’s got to do with the letter beyond name-dropping I couldn’t tell. A complete waste of time.

4. “Ghostbusters”/Ray Parker Jr. Down to #4 after three weeks at #1. Ghostbusters was still #2 at the box office after a whole summer in theaters, and the only people who hadn’t seen it by Labor Day weekend were either in monasteries, nursing homes, or jail.

2. “Missing You”/John Waite
1. “What’s Love Got to Do With It”/Tina Turner
Thirty-seven years on, I’m still playing “What’s Love Got to Do With It” on my radio shows maybe twice a week. When 80s music finally starts falling out of style, these two records, perfect in every way, will be among the last to go.

At the Edge of the Universe

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Continuing with our 1977 theme this week, here’s a look inside the American Top 40 show from the week of August 20, 1977.

40. “That’s Rock and Roll”/Shaun Cassidy
28. “Da Doo Ron Ron”/Shaun Cassidy
“Da Doo Ron Ron” is a fabulous update of the Phil Spector Wall of Sound by producer Michael Lloyd. “That’s Rock and Roll” is not even a half-inch deep.

38. “Hard Rock Café”/Carole King. Carole King was only 35 when she recorded this, but fashions had changed so much since she last charted early in 1975 that she and her song both sound geriatric.

37. “It’s a Crazy World”/Mac McAnally. If you remember “It’s a Crazy World,” which is about as 70s as the 70s got, we should probably have lunch sometime.

34. “Don’t Worry Baby”/B. J. Thomas. On the original, the Beach Boys sing, “She told me, baby when you race today just take along my love with you.” Thomas changes “race today” to “leave today,” turning it from yet another car song into something universal.

33. “Edge of the Universe”/Bee Gees. “Edge of the Universe” is from the album Here at Last … Bee Gees … Live, recorded during a single Los Angeles concert in December 1976. They generated a fair number of screams from their audience, but nothing like they would eventually do. In 1979, a friend of mine took his little sister to see them here in Madison, and he said the screaming was the single loudest noise he’d ever heard.

Casey does a feature on the most successful married couple in chart history. Not Sonny and Cher or the Captain and Tennille, he says, but Les Paul and Mary Ford, who charted most of their biggest hits in the pre-rock 50s. I suspect they’re still #1, but if they’re not, I’m sure somebody will tell me.

32. “Slide”/Slave. I could never remember if this was “Slide” by Slave or “Slave” by Slide. It had been #1 on the R&B chart, and it’s got enough guitar skronk to appeal to white kids. This is its peak on the Hot 100.

30. “Keep It Comin’ Love”/KC and the Sunshine Band
27. “My Heart Belongs to Me”/Barbra Streisand
26. “You’re My World”/Helen Reddy
25. “On and On”/Stephen Bishop
24. “Swayin’ to the Music”/Johnny Rivers
I spent the first hour of this show thinking how difficult it was to access 17-year-old me, listening to these songs as the summer of 1977 began to turn toward fall. And then came the second hour.

23. “Strawberry Letter 23″/Brothers Johnson
15. “Smoke From a Distant Fire”/Sanford-Townsend BAnd
If we have lunch over our shared memory of Mac McAnally but you tell me you don’t like either of these, I’m sticking you with the check.

22. “Cold as Ice”/Foreigner
17. “Give a Little Bit”/Supertramp
16. “Telephone Line”/Electric Light Orchestra
14. “Barracuda”/Heart
12. “Handy Man”/James Taylor
11. “Don’t Stop”/Fleetwood Mac
9. “You and Me”/Alice Cooper
8. “Just a Song Before I Go”/Crosby Stills and Nash

This chart has its share of goofballs (see next entry) but it’s also loaded with established, respectable rock acts. “Telephone Line” is the best thing on the show, unless it’s “Strawberry Letter 23” or “Smoke From a Distant Fire.”

18. “Telephone Man”/Meri Wilson
13. “Float On”/Floaters
Heaven help the listeners of radio stations that insisted on playing “Telephone Man” every couple of hours like it was the latest Peter Frampton hit. “Float On,” meanwhile, is absurd, but it was the #1 soul song in this week and would eventually get to #2 on the Hot 100.

EXTRA: “Let’s Stay Together”/Al Green. No, wait, maybe this is the best song on the show, the answer to a listener question about the #1 soul song of the 70s so far. “Let’s Stay Together” spent nine weeks at #1 on the soul chart in early 1972. Nothing would equal that mark until 1982: Stevie Wonder’s “That Girl.” Marvin Gaye would do 10 weeks at #1 with “Sexual Healing” starting later that same year.

6. “Whatcha Gonna Do”/Pablo Cruise
5. “Easy”/Commodores
4. “I’m in You”/Peter Frampton

3. “Higher and Higher”/Rita Coolidge
Hot damn, this show sounds so good right here. As I have written before, I am an unapologetic “Higher and Higher” fanboy. Rita and producer Booker T. Jones don’t try to remake Jackie Wilson, and as a result, they make something that is quintessentially 70s and insanely great.

2. “I Just Want to Be Your Everything”/Andy Gibb
1. “Best of My Love”/Emotions
You couldn’t escape these records. For seven straight weeks in August and September, both were in the Top Three. Each of them had two runs, a long one and a short one, at #1. “Best of My Love” is a record I respect more than I like; considering the ubiquity of “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” that summer, opinions about it are irrelevant.

Still more from the summer of 1977 is ahead, so stay tuned.