Category Archives: American Top 40

Hear Me Roar

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: a women’s liberation parade in New York City, August 1971.)

There’s a lot to recommend the American Top 40 show from December 16, 1972. It contains a famous error: Casey announced Rod Stewart’s “Angel” at #40 but played the B-side, “Lost Paraguayos.” “Angel” dropped back to #43 the next week, so it never appeared on the show. Casey’s modern-day restoration expert, Ken Martin, who does mono-to-stereo conversions for the earliest shows, fixed the error, but the original misidentified “Lost Paraguayos” was offered to stations as an extra during the recent repeat. The show features James Taylor and Carly Simon, then husband and wife, back to back with “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “You’re So Vain,” both debuting in this week. It’s got some AM-radio classics: the Raspberries’ “I Wanna Be With You,” “I’d Love You to Want Me” by Lobo, Loggins and Messina with “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” Jim Croce’s “Operator,” and Seals and Crofts with “Summer Breeze.”

And there’s also this:

30. “I’ll Be Around”/Spinners
27. “Superstition”/Stevie Wonder
18. “Corner of the Sky”/Jackson Five
17. “Keeper of the Castle”/Four Tops
15. “Superfly”/Curtis Mayfield
10. “I’m Stone in Love With You”/Stylistics
9. “I Can See Clearly Now”/Johnny Nash
6. “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”/Temptations
4. “You Ought to Be With Me”/Al Green
3. “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”/Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
Soul music was at a peak as 1972 drew to a close. (Your mileage may vary with the Jackson Five and the Stylistics, which is fine with me, and be sure to include #1, below.) Casey observes that Al Green had more Top 40 hits than any other act in 1972—four—which is a pretty good piece of trivia, and evidence that 1972 was a better year than it gets credit for.

11. “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie-Woogie Flu”/Johnny Rivers. The great pleasure of this song is the piano-bangin’ introduction and solo, over which Johnny (and anybody listening) whoops and generally enjoys the hell out of. That pleasure is being lost in our Spotify’d, algorithm-driven world. No singer lets the band play anymore.

7. “Clair”/Gilbert O’Sullivan. Honesty compels me to report that out of the 40 songs on this chart, I bought exactly two of them on 45s that fall: “I’d Love You to Want Me” and “Clair.” I can’t remember what attracted me to it. The song elides the question of whether O’Sullivan’s affection for Clair is familial or romantic until the very end, when it’s revealed that he’s babysitting his niece.

2. “I Am Woman”/Helen Reddy. This was unexpectedly moving when I heard it on the recent repeat: its joyful celebration of liberation, its glorious optimism, its strong determination to keep reaching higher.

1. “Me and Mrs. Jones”/Billy Paul. From November 1972 until sometime in 1974, Casey and the AT40 staff tried to predict each week what the next week’s #1 song would be. The previous week’s prediction of “Me and Mrs. Jones”—the third time they’d made a prediction—was the first time they’d gotten it right. Casey smiles and says a batting average of .333 is “better than I did in high school.”

Recommended Reading: Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show, by Richard Zoglin, is a bit mistitled. Only about a third of the book has to do with Presley’s Vegas years; most of the rest covers the fascinating history of Las Vegas showbiz itself, from the 50s glory days through the end of the 60s when Elvis arrived: from the Rat Pack to Wayne Newton to Howard Hughes, plus mobsters and topless showgirls. It’s definitely worth your time. Zoglin’s other books, a biography of Bob Hope and a history of 70s standup comedy, are highly recommended also.

Fear the Reaper: (Usual disclaimer: my opinion only, nobody else’s, anywhere on Earth.) I am not going to say much about iHeart Media’s reorganization and “employee dislocation” (except that the PR flack who came up with that phrase should choke on it). I know of only one high-profile person who lost a job in Madison, but back in the Quad Cities, our home between 1987 and 1997, cuts included three personalities with over 30 years in the market and one with better than 40. Local morning shows across the country: gone. Highly rated programs in all dayparts: gone. All are likely to be replaced by generic national shows. This feels like a declaration that local personalities no longer matter in local radio. And that is a dark and terrible thing for a radio company to declare.

(There will be a rare Saturday post here, so stop back.)

We Are the Young

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael, January 1985.)

Once again this year, I ran up a surplus of American Top 40 shows in December, and it’s going to take me well into the new year to catch up, starting with December 15, 1984. There is a very good argument that 1984 is not merely the greatest musical year of the 80s, but one of the greatest of all time. And in this week alone, there’s a remarkable number of future pop and rock classics, all side-by-side jostling for position.

39. “Caribbean Queen”/Billy Ocean
32. “I Want to Know What Love Is”/Foreigner
29. “The Boys of Summer”/Don Henley
26. “Purple Rain”/Prince
22. “You’re the Inspiration”/Chicago
16. “Run to You”/Bryan Adams
15. “Born in the USA”/Bruce Springsteen
8. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”/Wham
4. “I Feel for You”/Chaka Khan

3. “Like a Virgin”/Madonna
That’s what I’m talking about: so many superstars, all young and in their prime, with songs that would be part of Top 40, adult contemporary, classic rock, and oldies playlists for decades to come.

38. “Bruce”/Rick Springfield
37. “Tender Years”/John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band
Casey describes “Bruce,” a song he says Rick Springfield recorded in the late 1970s about being mistaken for Bruce Springsteen. He describes it in such detail that actually playing the song becomes redundant. It’s followed (immediately on the recent repeat, but after a commercial break in 1984) by “Tender Years,” which actually could be mistaken for Springsteen.

35. “Loverboy”/Billy Ocean
33. “Pride in the Name of Love”/U2
31. “Stranger in Town”/Toto
30. “Easy Lover”/Philip Bailey and Phil Collins
25. “We Are the Young”/Dan Hartman
18. “Walking on a Thin Line”/Huey Lewis and the News
17. “Strut”/Sheena Easton
In mid-December 1984, we had thrown the switch on a Top 40 format at my radio station two months before. I loved hearing these songs (and others from this show) because it meant we were rockin’, and for the first time in my career I was playing on my air what I was listening to at home.

28. “Centipede”/Rebbie Jackson
19. “Do What You Do”/Jermaine Jackson
Casey says that this is the sixth time a pair of siblings were in the Top 40 at the same time: Donny and Jimmy Osmond, Donny and Marie, Andy and Robin Gibb, Jermaine and Michael (with two different records by Michael), and Jermaine and Rebbie.

24. “Understanding”/Bob Seger. Seger had a seemingly bottomless well of songs in which an older and wiser guy looks back on his young self and what he went through to become old and wise, delivered at a wistful medium tempo. “Understanding” got up to #17 on the first chart of 1985 and then looks to have vanished until it turned up on a Seger compilation in 2003.

The only Christmas flavor on this show comes midway through the second hour, from a snippet of “Nuttin’ for Christmas” by six-year-old Barry Gordon, which was a hit in 1955. Casey played it in response to a listener question about the youngest person ever to hit the charts. A snippet was enough.

12. “Valotte”/Julian Lennon. It’s hard to recapture the way it felt to hear this visitation from beyond the grave in 1984, especially when it first hit the air. But the record came by its success legitimately because it’s actually good, and not solely because it reminded people of John.

10. “All Through the Night”/Cyndi Lauper. “All Through the Night” should probably go on the list of classics I made earlier because it’s the best thing on a very good show. Listen to the not-just-full-throated-but-whole-body-involved note she holds on the last word: “until it ends, there is no end.” If you’re not getting goosebumps, you’re listening wrong.

2. “The Wild Boys”/Duran Duran
1. “Out of Touch”/Hall and Oates
With a whole raft of enduring classics on the radio in this week, the two most popular songs are a bit of a fizzle. “The Wild Boys” always seemed to me like Duran Duran testing the theory that they could record anything and people would buy it. And if you are surprised to be reminded that “Out of Touch” hit #1, so was I.

Recommended Reading: In 1978, the album Aurora by Daisy Jones and the Six became one of the year’s biggest hits. Their single “Turn It Off” won Record of the Year at the 1979 Grammys, and in the spring of that year, Daisy Jones was the idol of millions of young women around the world. But after a gig in Chicago that summer, at the height of their success, the band suddenly broke up. If you don’t remember all that, you haven’t read the novel Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. And you should.

Bring Me Flowers

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand dress down to record “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”)

The American Top 40 show from December 16, 1978, was, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the most Christmas-heavy regular edition in the show’s history—and it was also the show that ran the weekend after I did my first real radio shows. The college station was running a Top 40 format at the time—which would be dumped when the new management team took over in January—but it was a blast while it lasted. So the 12/16/78 show contains some of the music I played back then.

40. “Don’t Hold Back”/Chanson
36. “There’ll Never Be”/Switch
35. “I Was Made for Dancing”/Leif Garrett
34. “Instant Replay”/Dan Hartman
Saturday Night Fever brought disco to every hotel cocktail lounge in America during 1978, and by the end of the year, a lot of the big dance hits were more product than music. There’s nothing special about any of these records; they’re just there, and you can dance to ’em.

39. “I Will Be in Love With You”/Livingston Taylor
30. “Shake It”/Ian Matthews
When the Sensitive Male of the 70s made music, it sounded like this.

32. “Fire”/Pointer Sisters
31. “September”/Earth Wind and Fire
Both are debut records in this week.

EXTRA: “Step Into Christmas”/Elton John
EXTRA: “Merry Christmas Darling”/Carpenters
EXTRA: “O Holy Night”/Nat King Cole
EXTRA: “Little Saint Nick”/Beach Boys
EXTRA: “White Christmas”/Bing Crosby
EXTRA: “The Christmas Song”/Nat King Cole

(These were sprinkled throughout the show but I’m gonna talk about ’em all at once because of reasons.)

Casey mentions that “Step Into Christmas” is Elton’s only single release of the 70s that didn’t chart, but it became a million-seller anyhow thanks to annual re-releases. Introducing “Merry Christmas Darling,” Casey says it’s the only one of the 10 most popular Christmas hits of all time that doesn’t go back to the 40s or 50s—so even 41 years ago, the Christmas radio canon was frozen in time. Along with “O Holy Night,” Casey tells the story of how the song temporarily stopped the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 when a French soldier poked his head outside of a trench on Christmas Eve to sing it. The story is an unconfirmed legend, but it’s nice enough at Christmastime. “Little Saint Nick” is accompanied by a lengthy Beach Boys origin story that I confess I tuned out of partway through. Before playing “White Christmas,” Casey sketches the record’s remarkable chart history, how it hit almost annually for the next 20 years. “The Christmas Song” was snipped from the recent repeat and offered as an optional extra.

28. “Every 1’s a Winner”/Hot Chocolate
25. “New York Groove”/Ace Frehley

Hot Chocolate’s signature low, buzzy guitar sound wedded to a monstrous stomp kicks every ass in the neighborhood and makes Ace Frehley sound like Livingston Taylor.

14. “How Much I Feel”/Ambrosia
4. “I Just Wanna Stop”/Gino Vannelli

I have written a couple of times recently about the fall of 1978, and about my difficult transition into life as a freshman away from home for the first time. Increasing involvement at the radio station as the semester ended gave me a direction I didn’t have when I first got to school, but there were still some landmines in my path, and I had to step carefully.

12. “YMCA”/Village People
10. “Mac Arthur Park”/Donna Summer
6. “I Love the Nightlife”/Alicia Bridges

Unlike the disco records I mentioned earlier, these have both purpose and personality, and they’re bigger hits as a result.

11. “Strange Way”/Firefall
7. “Time Passages”/Al Stewart
5. “My Life”/Billy Joel
One of these is the best song on the show and I don’t know which. Billy Joel’s 52nd Street is the #1 album in this week.

LDD: “This One’s for You”/Barry Manilow. AT40 had gone to four-hour shows in October, but this one doesn’t need to be. It’s got nearly a full hour of padding: six Christmas songs, three #1 hits of the 70s, and this. It’s introduced with a jingle singing “long distance dedication,” which I don’t think I’ve ever heard before.

2. “Le Freak”/Chic
1. “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”/Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond

These two songs traded the #1 spot on the five December charts issued in 1978: Barbra and Neil on 12/2 and 12/16, Chic on 12/9, 12/23, and 12/30 (a frozen chart from the previous week). On this show, Casey plays the original version of the song, spliced together from Barbra and Neil’s solo performances by Louisville radio programmer Gary Guthrie, which inspired the two stars to record it together. Here’s the clip from the show.

The weekend this show aired, I was on my way home for semester break. My radio career had begun. And all of a sudden, it was the year 2020.

Christmas Hits From Coast to Coast

Embed from Getty Images

This weekend, radio stations that carry American Top 40 repeats will be airing the show from December 16, 1978, which was the most Christmas-heavy regular program of the show’s golden era. That reminded me of an idea I had last year to research the history of Christmas songs on AT40. So I looked at the cue sheets for December in each year from 1970 through 1987 (Casey left the show before Christmas 1988), and here’s what I found.

—During AT40‘s first Christmas season, Casey featured a single Christmas song: Bing Crosby’s “Silent Night,” on the show dated December 26, 1970. I wrote about this show back in 2010.

—During the 1971 and 1973 Christmas seasons, Casey featured special Christmas countdowns, shows purporting to cover the top Christmas hits of all time, although the rankings differ and some songs appear in one countdown and not the other. I have written previously about these shows—which are not very good.

—During the 1972 and 1974 Christmas seasons, I didn’t find any Christmas songs in any December edition of the show.

—Starting in 1975, Casey established a pattern: with few exceptions, he’d play at least one Christmas song in the show airing the week before Christmas. This makes sense, as many of his affiliates, especially in major markets, probably wouldn’t have played much Christmas music, if any, until a week before the big day. The 12/20/75 show included Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Feliz Navidad” by Jose Feliciano. The 12/18/76 show featured the Jackson Five version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” For December 17, 1977 (a show I wrote about after it was repeated last year), “Blue Christmas” by Elvis, “Little Saint Nick” by the Beach Boys, and Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” were featured.

—American Top 40 expanded from three hours to four in October 1978, which gave Casey and his producers more time to fill, and at Christmas that year, they filled with holiday warhorses. The 12/16/78 show includes Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas,” “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters, “O Holy Night” and “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole, as well as “Little Saint Nick” and “White Christmas” again. In 1979, Casey didn’t play any full Christmas songs, but the 12/22/79 show included a feature on “White Christmas.”

—In 1980, Casey broke the pattern with two weekends featuring Christmas music. On 12/13/80, he played Nat’s “O Holy Night” again, the only religious Christmas song he ever played apart from “Silent Night” in 1970. The 12/20/80 show brought back the warhorses: “Step Into Christmas,” “The Christmas Song” by Nat, and Bing’s “White Christmas” again.

—In 1981, he went back to the one-week-a-year pattern. The 12/19/81 show featured two Christmas songs: Spike Jones on “All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)” and “Little Saint Nick” again.

—In 1982, and again in 1985, Casey played no Christmas songs at all.

—On 12/17/83, Casey played “Merry Christmas Darling” again. But on the show dated 12/24/83—which was a regular weekly countdown instead of an installment of the Top 100 of the year, as the Christmas-week show had frequently been—there were no Christmas songs, which strikes me weird.

—On 12/15/84, Casey did a feature on young artists that featured a snippet of “Nuttin’ for Christmas,” presumably the one recorded by six-year-old Barry Gordon, which was popular at Christmas 1955. The 12/22/84 show included a feature on the album A Christmas Gift to You From Phil Spector, and “Jingle Bell Rock” again.

—We should digress here to talk about Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” Because Billboard ran behind the street, it didn’t make the Hot 100 (at #65) until the week of 12/22/84. The 12/29 chart was frozen and the AT40 show that weekend was the year-end countdown, so “Do They Know It’s Christmas” wasn’t heard on AT40 until the show dated 1/5/85, and again on the 12th, 19th, and 26th before it fell out of the 40. “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was played as a Christmas extra on the show dated 12/19/87.

—In 1986, Casey threw his audience (and me, as a researcher) a curve. His lone Christmas song of the season didn’t appear until the show dated 12/27/86: Darlene Love’s version of “White Christmas” from the Phil Spector Christmas album.

If there’s anything surprising about this research, it might be that Casey never played “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” or Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” But he didn’t go wrong with what he chose to play; nothing edgy, but no Singing Dogs either.

Coming Friday: a new podcast episode.

Spikes of Joy

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: ABBA says hello from 1976.)

Up here in Wisconsin, we got our first snow a month ago. On a gray day last week, a cold rain took the last of the leaves from the trees. The best part of autumn is behind us now. It’s bittersweet to see it go, but before it did, I spent some time in bygone autumns, with a couple of American Top 40 shows.

This stretch, as heard on the show from October 30, 1971, provided another motherlode of AM radio pleasure:

28. “Everybody’s Everything”/Santana
27. “So Far Away”/Carole King
26. “One Fine Morning”/Lighthouse
25. “Stagger Lee”/Tommy Roe
24. “Only You Know and I Know”/Delaney and Bonnie
23. “Birds of a Feather”/Raiders
22. “Ain’t No Sunshine”/Bill Withers
21. “Have You Seen Her”/Chi-Lites
20. “Easy Loving”/Freddie Hart
19. “Inner City Blues”/Marvin Gaye
18. “Uncle Albert-Admiral Halsey”/Paul and Linda McCartney

A person such as I, who grew up in the supercharged AM radio atmosphere of boss jocks and call-letter jingles, can live for a mighty long time in the headspace created by those 11 songs. Or these seven:

10. “I’ve Found Someone of My Own”/Free Movement
9. “Peace Train”/Cat Stevens
8. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”/Joan Baez
7. “Do You Know What I Mean”/Lee Michaels
6. “Imagine”/John Lennon
5. “Theme From Shaft”/Isaac Hayes
4. “Superstar”/Carpenters

By the time I got this far on the list, I had long since left 2019. It was 1971 again, and I was in the bedroom I shared with my brother, across the hall from Mother and Dad, with my green plastic Westinghouse tube-type radio, the one with the big dial, with a tiny bit of masking tape on it to mark WLS, since the thing had a tendency to drift. That fall, in the afternoons home from school, evenings after supper, weekend days, all the time, I devoured the radio joyfully, not just the songs but the jocks and the jingles and the atmosphere, because I already knew that radio was my calling.

As I listened to these songs again, I was there, and I had no desire to come back.

But I had to, because you have to.

Not long after, I listened to the show from November 13, 1976. It, too, has a stretch of songs that I find seriously pleasurable, but in the end it evokes an entirely different feeling:

25. “You Don’t Have to Be a Star”/Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.
24. “I Never Cry”/Alice Cooper
23. “Play That Funky Music”/Wild Cherry
22. “I Only Want to Be With You”/Bay City Rollers
21. “A Fifth of Beethoven”/Walter Murphy
20. “Magic Man”/Heart

19. “The Best Disco in Town”/Ritchie Family
18. “Nights Are Forever Without You”/England Dan and John Ford Coley
17. “She’s Gone”/Hall and Oates
16. “You Are the Woman”/Firefall
15. “More Than a Feeling”/Boston
14. “Fernando”/ABBA

The average onlooker probably considers this a load of forgettable cheese, and some of it certainly is, but I am incapable of hearing it that way. These songs took me to a place I’ve written about before, where 16-year-old-me had the world by the tail. I had my day-to-day concerns, but nothing I couldn’t handle. All good things were mine, or eventually would be. The road to the glowing future was smooth and wide and straight, and all I had to do was keep to it and I’d get there.

I hear this stretch of songs now, and the clash between the two people, the boy who didn’t know what he didn’t know and the older man who does, drowns out most everything else. I can’t live in that country the way I can live in my 1971 bedroom. The most I can get is the occasional spike of joy—like at the climax of “More Than a Feeling,” just as the wall of guitars gives way for that Louie-Louie bass line to kick in for the last time, and where for just a moment I remember everything—but it doesn’t stay.

Which is why I keep going back, like an addict in thrall to another kind of spike.

These shows have some fine moments beyond these stretches. The top 10 of the 1971 show is a list I’ll never get tired of hearing. (Even “Yo-Yo.”) The top of the 1976 show is harder to love, as anything with “Muskrat Love” and “Disco Duck” would be, but there’s “Rubberband Man” and “Rock’n Me” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” to take the curse off. And even “Muskrat Love” and “Disco Duck” are indispensable. Without them, the fall of 1976 wouldn’t have been quite what it was.

What it continues to be.

We do not always listen to old songs simply because we want to be transported back in time. But sometimes we do.

Diggin’ the Cat on the Radio

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Kiki Dee, 1973.)

The fall of 1974 is, as I’ve written several times over the years, a favorite season of mine. The American Top 40 show from October 19, 1974, was pretty powerful stuff on these recent autumn afternoons, making the door to the portal back in time, a door that periodically materializes in my middle distance, feel pretty close.

39. “Longfellow Serenade”/Neil Diamond. Me, 2014: “I am pretty sure you can’t get anywhere with a girl by reading her Longfellow. I am not sure you could get all that far 40 years ago, either.”

38. “Second Avenue”/Art Garfunkel. Two versions of this charted at the same time, one by Garfunkel (as he was billed on the single) and one by Tim Moore, who wrote it.

Then all the things that we felt
Must eventually melt and fade
Like the frost on my window pane
Where I wrote, “I am you”
On Second Avenue

37. “Higher Plane”/Kool and the Gang. If you dig the groove on “Jungle Boogie,” here’s more of it, and in a good way.

36. “I’ve Got the Music in Me”/Kiki Dee Band. Me, 2014: “Imagine not-yet-famous Ann and Nancy Wilson sitting by the radio in Seattle in 1974 going ‘damn, THAT’S the stuff.'”

35. “Clap for the Wolfman”/Guess Who. “Aw, you know, she was diggin’ the cat on the radio.”

30. “Overnight Sensation”/Raspberries. Casey tells the story of the woman who passed out in a record store due to the strong smell from the scratch-and-sniff sticker on the cover of the band’s debut album—a story he told almost exactly two years earlier, to the week, when he played “Go All the Way.”

29. “Straight Shootin’ Woman”/Steppenwolf. This was last of 13 Hot 100 hits for Steppenwolf, going back to 1968.

28. “The Need to Be”/Jim Weatherly. Me, 2014: “in which a man of the Me Decade disappears up his own external orifice.”

26. “Beach Baby”/First Class. If one is nostalgic for the era of a song that expresses nostalgia for a still earlier era, how far is he from Inception, really?

22. “Carefree Highway”/Gordon Lightfoot. The warmth in Gordon Lightfoot’s voice on this record is the aural equivalent of autumn.

20. “Give It to the People”/Righteous Brothers. I must have heard this record before listening to this show recently, but I don’t remember it. It’s another entry in the genre of what it’s like to be a rock star, which is highly relatable content.

19. “Back Home Again”/John Denver
18. “Whatever Gets You Through the Night”/John Lennon
17. “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”/Bachman-Turner Overdrive
16. “Tin Man”/America
15. “Sweet Home Alabama”/Lynryd Skynyrd
You want the radio turned off, turn it off yourself. I ain’t gonna do it.

14. “Do It Baby”/Miracles. The first Miracles hit without Smokey Robinson. I am pretty sure I never heard it until I started doing Saturday at the 70s on the radio a decade ago.

13. “Skin Tight”/Ohio Players
12. “You Little Trustmaker”/The Tymes
11. “Stop and Smell the Roses”/Mac Davis

I told you once, I ain’t turning it off.

10. “Love Me for a Reason”/Osmonds. But I might step out of the room for a bit.

9. “Steppin’ Out (Gonna Boogie Tonight)”/Tony Orlando and Dawn. I can’t find a link for it, but I remember somewhere describing Orlando’s style as the 70s went on as “overacting like Fozzie Bear.” This is one of the less egregious examples of it, and since I’m halfway through the time portal by this point in the show, I’ll allow it.

7. “Never My Love”/Blue Swede. Blue Swede decorated “Hooked on a Feeling” with the “ooga-chucka” hook (which they nicked from Jonathan King); their tactic on “Never My Love” was to play it twice as fast as the original.

6. “The Bitch Is Back”/Elton John. Contrary to urban legend. Casey did mention the title of this, both going into and coming out of it, although he sounds a little embarrassed. Old-school radio jocks could be that way; I still remember the first time I deliberately said “hell” on the air (as an intensifier and not as a noun), and wondering afterward whether I should have done it.

1. “Nothing From Nothing”/Billy Preston. Throughout the show, Casey teases the fact that the week’s new #1 song would be the 28th of 1974, breaking a record for most #1 songs in a year. The record of 27 was set in 1966 and equaled in 1973. Before 1974 ended, 36 songs would hit #1. As best I can tell, that’s still the all-time record for #1 hits in a year.

The feeling of family warmth and security I remember from the fall of 1974 is almost certainly a lie, but a harmless one after all this time. And in this horrid fall of 2019, each of us needs all the warmth and security we can get.

%d bloggers like this: