Category Archives: Inside Billboard


Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Robert Shaw, Robert Redford, and Paul Newman in The Sting.)

The March 23, 1974, edition of Billboard magazine featured several stories on various efforts by Congress and the record industry to stop piracy. Various firms have been selling tapes of copyrighted music, taking advantage of loopholes in the law. The FCC is considering whether copyright information could be electronically encoded within the audio of records, tapes, commercials, and other broadcast material to deter pirates. Officials at the CBS and ABC radio networks are in favor of the idea, but they want at least a year to test out potential effects of encoding on audio quality, as well as its effect on the networks’ own encoded signals, which are used to send alerts to affiliates, and to switch programs automatically.

In other news:

—Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson have signed a deal with producer Michael Viner to appear in and provide music for a mixed live-action/animated movie called Ringo’s Night Out. Viner and Nilsson have already collaborated on Til Sex Do Us Part, which Viner describes as “a highly artistic X-rated movie which has been well-received in Europe.”

—A number of DJs have either been streaked by someone while on the air, or gone streaking themselves. Exorcist Records released “Streaking” by Zona Rosa and had it delivered to progressive FM stations in Los Angeles by a streaker. The story concludes: “If you haven’t been personally streaked this past week, perhaps it’s only because you’re un-streakable.”

—The ninth annual Academy of Country Music Awards show will be on March 28 and broadcast on tape delay as part of ABC’s Wide World of Entertainment late-night series. It’s the first-ever telecast of the awards. Charlie Rich and Merle Haggard lead the nominations with five each. Roger Miller will host; presenters will include Dennis Weaver, Bob Eubanks, and Barbi Benton.

—The “Talent in Action” section reviews a Long Island performance headlined by Humble Pie with Spooky Tooth and Montrose; Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie at Carnegie Hall; Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton in Oxnard, California; and a New York City showcase for an unsigned bluegrass band called Breakfast Special, which is opened by Buckingham Nicks, which “offered both promise and problems in a brief but telling set.” After remarking that Lindsey Buckingham’s role as lead guitarist and lead vocalist “seems a bit taxing,” reviewer Sam Sutherland says, “Ms. Nicks also encounters problems, chiefly in her solo style, which points up the occasional roughness of her voice and the strident quality to her top end that makes duets bracing but proves less fruitful when she takes the stage alone.”

—Since last August, eight Canadian acts have appeared in Billboard‘s “New on the Charts” feature, giving Canada more than any other country including England. David Foster of the Vancouver-based group Skylark says that he believes Canadian musicians would take as predominant a position in 70s pop as English musicians did during the 60s. Apart from Skylark, the new Canadian hitmakers include Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Bill Amesbury, Wednesday, Ian Thomas, newsman Gordon Sinclair (whose spoken-word tribute “The Americans” had been a hit earlier in the year), and Terry Jacks.

—Jacks is just off three weeks at #1 on the Hot 100, but it’s likely that most popular musician in America at the moment is one who’s been dead since 1917. Three albums of Scott Joplin rags are in the Top 10 of the Best Selling Classical LPs chart; Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” recorded by Marvin Hamlisch, debuts on the Hot 100 this week at #88. The album “The Entertainer” comes from, the original soundtrack of the movie The Sting, is at #15 on Top LPs and Tape. That chart is topped by Barbra Streisand’s The Way We Were; Greatest Hits by John Denver is #2. The top 10 on the album chart also includes Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan’s Planet Waves, Band on the Run, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Tales From Topographic Oceans by Yes. The new #1 on the Hot 100 is “Dark Lady” by Cher. “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks is at #2.

Perspective From the Present: This same week, Cash Box reported that Til Sex Do Us Part would be released in New York and other cities in April. That doesn’t seem to have happened, and in fact, I can’t find any evidence of a movie called Til Sex Do Us Part being released anywhere until 2002, and it’s not the one Viner and Nilsson supposedly produced. As for Ringo’s Night Out, Viner spent $15,000 on a “pilot” for the film, which got a screening for potential investors in June 1974, but it didn’t impress enough of them, and the full film was never made.

As It Happened

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: pop-culture icons collide in August 1977.)

Let’s take a look inside the edition of Billboard magazine dated August 13, 1977.

There’s been a drastic fall-off in patronage at certain New York City discos due to the .44 Caliber Killer, or as he’s better known, Son of Sam. Although at least four of Sam’s victims have been shot after leaving discos, police don’t think he’s targeting disco patrons specifically. It’s more likely that discos provide easy access to his preferred type of young victim. Police have increased patrols around discos in Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. Meanwhile, clubs in Manhattan and on Long Island have seen increased patronage, likely from people fearful of patronizing clubs in their own neighborhoods.

As it happened, the killer, real name David Berkowitz, was captured on August 10.

On September 1, New York’s WNBC will switch to a rock format, according to new program director Bob Pittman. Pittman, age 23, is best known for his recent success at country station WMAQ in Chicago; he’s bringing WMAQ personality Ellie Dylan with him to do mornings on WNBC. The current WNBC air staff, including morning host Don Imus, has been sacked, although WNBC will continue to be the national radio flagship for NBC News. Another prominent WNBC personality, Cousin Brucie Morrow, broke off contract talks after being told the new format “didn’t require a high-priced voice.” He plans to continue contributing music features to WNBC-TV and to write an autobiography. He also wants to “shop around for a metro-area radio station he can own and operate the way he thinks radio should be run.”

Among the winners at the recent 10th annual International Radio Programming Forum Awards in Toronto: WROK in Rockford, Illinois, as the Grand International Radio Station of the Year, “for its community leadership and its high levels of programming excellence.” Gary Owens of KMPC in Los Angeles was honored as Grand International Personality of the Year. The award for major-market Top 40 personality of the year was a tie between John Landecker of WLS in Chicago and Dan Ingram of WABC in New York. American Top 40 took the award for best regularly scheduled syndicated program. In a related item, American Top 40 has once again been named the most popular program on Armed Forces Radio by AFRTS program directors around the world.

An all-day bill headed by Peter Frampton smashed the concert attendance record at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium on July 31, drawing nearly 60,000 fans. Also on the bill that day: the Steve Miller Band, Styx, and Rick Derringer. Ticket prices ranged from $10 to $12.50. Other recent top-drawing shows included Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, who attracted 40,000 during a four-night stand in suburban Detroit, and Emerson Lake and Palmer with opening act Journey, who drew 10,000 on one night in Vancouver and 15,000 the next night in Seattle. Other major bills on tour at the moment: Bad Company with the Climax Blues Band, Alice Cooper with Burton Cummings, and America with Poco.

On the Hot 100, the top three songs are the same this week as last: “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” by Andy Gibb, “I’m in You” by Peter Frampton, and “Best of My Love” by the Emotions. The highest debut within the Top 40 is the London Symphony Orchestra recording of the Star Wars theme at #28. The highest Hot 100 debut is “Cat Scratch Fever” by Ted Nugent at #70. On Top LPs and Tape, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours is #1 again. CSN by Crosby Stills and Nash makes a strong move to #2. Barbra Streisand’s Superman, Frampton’s I’m in You, and Love Gun by KISS round out the Top Five.

On Billboard‘s Hits of the World charts, “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer is #1 in Britain. On the Hot Soul Singles chart, “Float On” by the Floaters takes over the #1 spot from the Brothers Johnson’s “Strawberry Letter 23,” which slips to #2. The top two songs on the Easy Listening chart are the same this week as last: “My Heart Belongs to Me” by Barbra Streisand at #1 and “It’s Sad to Belong” by England Dan and John Ford Coley at #2. “Rollin’ With the Flow” by Charlie Rich is #1 again on the Hot Country Singles chart, just ahead of Elvis Presley’s double-A sided hit “Way Down”/”Pledging My Love.”

As it happened, Elvis would die on August 16.

A correction of a story from the August 6 edition says that contrary to what was reported, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” is not in the public domain. “A federal judge ruled that the tale of the old tree is not copyrightable. The song is.”

Meaningful Comments

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: the Fifth Dimension.)

I have been writing a lot about 1969 lately, and here I go again. (If you think this is overkill, wait until it’s 50 years since the 70s.) What follows are some odds and ends from Billboard magazine 50 years ago this week:

—KLAC and KMET-FM in Los Angeles are coping with an engineers’ strike, as DJs and newsmen who are members of AFTRA won’t cross the engineers’ picket line. The strike began one day before KLAC was set to change format from talk to contemporary middle of the road music, but parent company Metromedia went ahead with the change anyhow. The strike is over Metromedia’s desire to have KLAC and KMET DJs run their own turntables, as they do at some other Metromedia stations. Currently, engineers start the records at the DJs’ direction. The company stresses that engineers will not be losing their jobs. They will still run the control boards. Metromedia managers with on-air experience are filling in for the regular DJs, some having to be flown in from other cities. It’s a method that was used in New York City earlier this year during a brief strike at Metromedia’s WNEW and WNEW-FM. Billboard says that the subsitutes are being “told to keep their chatter to meaningful comments, and to know such production values as how long the introductions and endings of the cuts run.”

Fifty years later: the “record turner” remained a presence at major-market stations long after 1969, although as this item indicates, that person often was responsible for running the control board, too.

—Bobbie Gentry is working on Christmas songs in hopes that they can be packaged as part of a TV special. She is just about to leave Nashville for London, where she will tape six episodes of Bobbie Gentry Presents for the BBC. When she returns, she will finish her second album with Glen Campbell. Her future plans include a Spanish-language album; she’s already recorded a version of “Fool on the Hill” in Japanese for Capitol Records to release over there.

Fifty years later: Best I can tell, the Bobbie Gentry Christmas special never happened. Neither did a full-blown Christmas album, although a 1969 Capitol Records Christmas compilation marketed by tire company B. F. Goodrich includes her performances of “Away in a Manger” and “Scarlet Ribbons.” (Both appear on the new box set of Gentry’s music, released last year.) The Spanish album never came to pass either, although she did record a single featuring “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” and “Here, There, and Everywhere” in Spanish.

—Buck Owens will star in a new TV show to premiere in June as a summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers. The show, titled He Hah, will showcase major country stars and be produced by former Jonathan Winters Show producers John Aylesworth and Frank Tiatt.

Fifty years later: Billboard got a lot wrong here. The show was titled Hee Haw, was hosted by Owens and fellow country superstar Roy Clark, and its producers were John Aylesworth and Frank Peppiatt, veteran writers and producers on both Canadian and American TV. The Laugh-In-inspired Hee Haw was successful enough during its summer run to get a regular slot on CBS, but it would last only two seasons on the network, becoming a victim of the “rural purge.” It returned in syndication in the fall of 1971 and ran for 22 seasons, often in an early-Saturday-evening timeslot. (It also got a brief late-90s reboot on the Nashville Network.) Everybody who was anybody in country music appeared on Hee Haw, and a number of the recurring comedy bits became iconic. Repeats of Hee Haw are still running on the RFD cable channel, and it’s surprising how well they hold up.

—Atop the record charts:

Rhythm and Blues Singles: “It’s Your Thing” by the Isley Brothers
Rhythm and Blues LPs: Cloud Nine by the Temptations
Classical LPs: Switched-on Bach by Walter Carlos
Hot Country Singles: “Galveston” by Glen Campbell
Hot Country LPs: Galveston by Glen Campbell, with Campbell’s Wichita Lineman at #2 and Gentle on My Mind at #5; Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell is at #9.
Easy Listening: “Galveston”
Jazz LPs: Fool on the Hill by Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66
Hot 100: “Aquarius”/”Let the Sunshine In” by the Fifth Dimension
Top LPs: the original cast recording of Hair

Fifty years later: [We apologize, but the proprietor is unable to get his mind around this stuff being 50 years old. Regular programming will resume as soon as possible. —Ed.]

Bustin’ Loose

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Rod Stewart in the studio, 1979.)

Here’s a look inside Billboard magazine for the week of February 24, 1979.

—In Bowling Green, Ohio, music store Schoolkids Records has launched a new program. Owner Thom Abbott says, “I try to deliver records like pizzas—within 30 minutes after the order is phoned in.” Abbott’s target customers are the students at Bowling Green State University. “The store-to-door gambit isn’t as decadent as it appears,” Billboard says. “Usually Bowling Green winters are so fierce that only musical die-hards battle the icy stretches between the campus’ main dorm complex and the record stores.” Customers pay a buck or two over the in-store price per delivered album, but Abbott offers a price break for orders of two or three albums.

—Toto’s first single, “Hold the Line,” is at #98 on the Hot 100 this week, its 21st week on the chart. A review of the band’s February 8 club debut at the Roxy in Los Angeles is highly complimentary of the group’s musicianship, as befits a group of LA’s top session cats, but it doesn’t compliment much else. Ed Harrison writes, “None of Toto’s songs have any guts, all lacking that certain depth that separates them from the countless other songs churned out each year. Fortunately, ‘Hold the Line’ has such an engaging melody, coupled with multiple lyrical and instrumental hooks, that radio programmers couldn’t help but take notice. The remainder of Toto’s material is average, relying on intentional commercial devices and trite lyrics.” Harrison concludes by saying, “Until the band grows, which it does show potential to do, it will remain only a lightweight outfit with marginal depth, despite any success it achieves.”

—A full-page display ad touts a contest sponsored by A&M Records, the grand prize of which is a $20,000 customized Styx van, “loaded inside and out,” with the band’s logo on the hood and album covers painted on the sides. (See it on page 18 of the PDF at the link above.) Other prizes include Toshiba 5310 Beta-format video units, $1500 home stereo systems, Styx tour jackets, and Styx picture discs. The contest is apparently aimed at retailers and not consumers.

—Among the top-grossing bills currently on tour: Rose Royce with the Bar Kays, Michael Henderson, and Evelyn “Champagne” King; Steve Martin with Steve Goodman; the tripartite Parliament, Funkadelic, and Brides of Funkenstein; Heart with Firefall; and the J. Geils Band with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. (Note from the present: sweet mama that last one would have been one hell of a show.) Heart is also doing some dates backed by Wet Willie. Santana is on the road with a couple of different openers, Sad Café and Seawind.

(Further note from the present: Sad Café, which featured future Mike and the Mechanics singer Paul Young, who is not the “Every Time You Go Away” Paul Young, was just ending a seven-week chart run in this week with “Run Home Girl,” a generic light-pop single. My college radio station had been playing the vastly different and far-better “Strange Little Girl.”)

—Bob James’ Touchdown is #1 on the Jazz LPs chart. “Bustin’ Loose” by Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers is #1 on Hot Soul Singles. C’est Chic is atop the Soul LPs chart. C’est Chic was recently repackaged for release in the UK as Tres Chic, with a new cover and the addition of two earlier Chic hits, “Dance Dance Dance” and “Everybody Dance,” but Atlantic Records apparently did so without the consent of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. For that reason, the album has been withdrawn.

—Eddie Rabbitt’s “Every Which Way But Loose,” from the Clint Eastwood movie of the same name, is #1 on Hot Country Singles. The Gambler by Kenny Rogers is #1 on Hot Country LPs. “I Just Fall in Love Again” by Anne Murray is #1 on Easy Listening.

—Rod Stewart and the Bee Gees are dominating the main singles and album charts. “Do You Think I’m Sexy” is #1 on the Hot 100 for a third week, and “Tragedy” is #6, up from #19 last week after debuting on the Hot 100 at #29 the week before. Stewart’s album Blondes Have More Fun is #1 on Top LPs and Tape, but the Bee Gees’ Spirits Having Flown is up to #2 after debuting last week at #4.

Forty years ago this week, I was only a few weeks removed from my first real live radio shift the past December. I had a regular gig on the campus radio station, but all was not entirely rosy there. That story will appear here on Friday.

A Christmas Portrait

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Nat King Cole, circa 1963.)

In past years, we have looked into Billboard magazine’s special Christmas charts for several years of the 60s and 70s. Now let’s take a look at the return of those charts in 1983, 1984, and 1985. In each year, charts for singles and albums have 10 places, which is a far cry from the huge charts from the 60s.

Charts for 1983 appear in the December 17 and December 24 issues. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is #1 on the first Billboard Christmas chart since 1973; the next week, however, it’s taken out by Elmo and Patsy’s “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” first heard at Christmas 1979 but getting its first nationwide release in ’83. Although they swap positions around, nine of the top 10 singles, all returning classics, are exactly the same in both weeks; “The Little Drummer Boy” by the Harry Simeone Chorale appears on the 17th but is replaced by Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” on the 24th. Same deal on the album chart: nine of the 10 are the same both weeks. Kenny Rogers’ Christmas Album is #1 on both charts. John Denver and the Muppets’ A Christmas Together appears only on the 17th and Chipmunk Christmas only on the 24th. The newest single on either chart is “Christmas in Dixie” by Alabama, released in 1982; the newest charting albums, by Kenny Rogers and Anne Murray, were released in 1981.

Charts for 1984 appear in the issues of December 15 and 22. New-for-1984 Once Upon a Christmas by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton is #1 both weeks; a new release Billboard lists as Christmas Mannheim Steamroller also appears both weeks, as does the new Christmas at Our House by Barbara Mandrell. But as in 1983, the charts are mostly static from week to week. Christmas With Placido by Placido Domingo shows up only on the 15th; it’s replaced by Frank Sinatra’s 1963 Christmas album on the 22nd. An oddity on the singles chart is that “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole appears only on the 15th; so does “Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You” by Billy Squier, first released in 1981. They are replaced on the 22nd by “Another Lonely Christmas” by Prince and “Winter Wonderland” by Dolly Parton. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” tops the singles chart both weeks.

Missing from the 1984 Christmas charts is Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” Unlike other Christmas singles, it placed on the Hot 100. It debuted on 12/22/84 at #65, peaked at #13 on 1/19/85, and then spent four weeks on its way off the chart.

In 1985, Billboard publishes just one Christmas chart, in the December 21 issue. It includes two new albums, Alabama Christmas by Alabama, which is #1, and It’s Christmas All Over the World by New Edition. George Winston’s December, first released in 1982, makes its first Christmas chart appearance, and so does a 1983 album by Amy Grant. Two new singles appear in the Christmas Top 10: “Christmas Time” by Bryan Adams and “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town” by Bruce Springsteen. The rest of the slots on both charts are taken up by returning holiday hits.

I will give you one guess what the #1 Christmas single of 1985 was, and it wasn’t Bruce or Bryan.

There’s a spreadsheet with all of the years, titles, and chart positions here. Only 18 songs take up the 50 spots available on the singles charts, with five appearing on all five charts: “White Christmas,” “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” “Blue Christmas,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” and “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” and “Jingle Bells” by the Singing Dogs appear on four. Twenty-one albums take up the 50 spots. Only two appear on all five charts: A Christmas Album by Barbra Streisand and Christmas Portrait by the Carpenters. Kenny Rogers, Anne Murray, and Luciano Pavarotti appear on four.

In the 80s, it took a superstar event to crack the canon: Kenny and Dolly were that in 1984; Bruce Springsteen, and to a lesser extent, Bryan Adams and Alabama, were that in 1985. Although Christmas singles and albums were released and re-released every year, it often took a year or two before they got much sales or airplay traction, but they were likely to be swamped by music recorded a generation or two before. As a result, the charts remained very predictable every year, and their utility to broadcasters and retailers must have shrunk to almost nothing. It’s not surprising that Billboard‘s Christmas charts vanished for good after 1985.

(Note to Patrons: One Day in Your Life is in the midst of a Christmas post-o-rama, now and through Christmas Day, so stop over.)

Christmas Boxes

Embed from Getty Images

Billboard did not publish a Christmas chart in its edition dated December 9, 1972. It did, however, include a feature we have visited before, “What’s Playing,” in which amusement operators list the records they are adding to their jukeboxes, or which are getting big play. From this we can get a modest idea of the demand for particular Christmas hits in that bygone year.

Jukebox operators were well-advised to stock up on Christmas warhorses: at C. S. Pierce Music in Brodhead, Wisconsin, Marie Pierce (someone known to some of my relatives since my mother is from Brodhead) reports big play for Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” and “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms. Betty Schott of Western Automatic Music in Chicago says Brenda Lee and Bobby Helms are doing well on jukeboxes catering to the high-school crowd, as are Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” and “Silver Bells” by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely, first heard at Christmas 1950. In Jefferson City, Missouri, Lloyd Grice of United Distributors reports patrons are playing four versions of “Blue Christmas” on his soul-music jukeboxes, by Elvis, Russ Morgan, Ace Cannon, and Ernest Tubb. He’s also seeing action on “Jingle Bell Rock” and Bing’s “White Christmas,” which has always done big business among soul and R&B audiences. In Madison, Wisconsin, Pat Schwartz of Modern Specialty Company is stocking country jukeboxes with Nat and Bing, but also with Dean Martin’s version of “Blue Christmas,” the Carpenters’ “Merry Christnas Darling,” and the Harry Simeone Chorale’s “The Little Drummer Boy.” Harry and Bing are pulling big coins on jukeboxes serviced by Lloyd Smalley of Chattanooga Coin Machine Company in Chattanooga, Tennessee, along with Elvis doing “If Every Day Was Like Christmas” and “Blue Christmas,” of course. In Fertile, Minnesota, in the northwestern part of the state, Duane Knutson of Automatic Sales Company has stocked his easy-listening jukeboxes with “White Christmas” and Johnny Cash’s version of “The Little Drummer Boy,” and is looking ahead by getting Guy Lombardo’s “Auld Lang Syne,” too.

A handful of ethnic novelties are turning up on a few Midwestern jukeboxes in December 1972. In Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Ruth Sawejka of Coin-Operated Amusement Company has purchased “Yo Ho Hilda’s Christmas” by Jimmy Jenson, a Swedish dialect record that nicks the tune from “Up on the House Top.” Jim and Belle Stansfield of Stansfield Novelty Company of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, are adding Jenson’s version of the Yogi Yorgesson hit “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas.” Jenson, known as the Swingin’ Swede, was a popular bandleader and restauranteur in Minnesota from the 1940s into the new millennium. He started doing Swedish dialect records after hearing Yorgesson in the 50s.

The Stansfields in LaCrosse and Robert Hesch of A&H Entertainers in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, are adding another Scandinavian dialect record, “Christmas Goose” by Stan and Doug. Stan Boreson was from Washington state and became a popular kids’ TV host in Seattle. In 1970, he and partner Doug Setterberg released Stan and Doug Yust Go Nuts at Christmas, which featured several versions of Christmas novelties first recorded by Yorgesson; “Christmas Goose,” which revolves around a mild double entendre, is a parody of Anne Murray’s “Snowbird,” and it scores extra points for rhyming “goose” with “obtuse.”

(The popularity of Scandinavian dialect records in the Upper Midwest should not surprise you. Everybody who did them performed in the shadow of Yorgesson, the Elvis of the form. I wrote about him in 2008.)

Christmas music is not the only thing jukebox patrons want in December, of course. And so the operators are stocking big Top 40 hits, or hits-to-be: Marie Pierce reports “I Wanna Be With You” by the Raspberries, “Keeper of the Castle” by the Four Tops, “Been to Canaan” by Carole King, the Partridge Family’s “Looking Through the Eyes of Love,” “Long Dark Road” by the Hollies, and “Sitting” by Cat Stevens. Also on her list: “I Got a Bag of My Own” by James Brown and “Angel” by Rod Stewart. Betty Schott is spanning genres with Bread’s “Sweet Surrender,” “Rock and Roll Soul” by Grand Funk Railroad, “Superfly” by Curtis Mayfield, and Three Dog Night’s “Pieces of April.” Going similarly wide, Helen Franklin of Schaffner Music Company of Alton, Illinois, reports “Ventura Highway” by America, Mott the Hoople’s “All the Young Dudes,” and Cher’s version of “Our Day Will Come.”

Operators knew the desires of the audiences in the places where their boxes were located; restauranteurs and bartenders could help them tailor their selections. Programming an analog jukebox was both science and art, but certainly both hit and miss as well.

%d bloggers like this: