(Pictured: Linda and Dolly confer backstage in 1978.)
Instead of looking at the Bottom 60 of the Hot 100 accompanying the AT40 show I wrote about last week, I thought I would steal an idea from Casey and look into the 6/17/78 edition of Billboard to see what’s at the top of the other charts, but I kept getting distracted by other things. There are full-page ads for the debut album by a new band, the Cars, and for the new album by the Rolling Stones, Some Girls. There is a news item noting that former WNBC jock Don Imus has turned a temporary gig at WHK in Cleveland into a permanent slot, and a feature discussing the rise of a new fad, roller disco. And a small display ad plugs the imminent arrival of “Joel Whitburn’s latest release,” which turned out to be his Pop Annual 1955-1977.
I finally made it to the charts, though.
—The Top Box Office Chart is led by a Memorial Day show in Des Moines, which starred Bob Seger, Foreigner, Nazareth, and Toby Beau. Elsewhere, a news story reports on the show two days earlier at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City at which Seger, Foreigner, and Toby Beau were joined by Head East, Bob Welch, and Uriah Heep. The show was interrupted by rain and delayed by unusually long changeovers between acts. Billboard‘s reporter also says: “Kansas City proved a little tamer than several other cities on Seger’s summer tour. Noticeably absent were the bared chests of young women on Seger’s “Night Moves” song, as well as the general adolescent mischief which has been reported at Seger appearances in other cities this spring.” Foreigner has been headlining some shows by themselves, playing with opening acts including Head East and Welch. Also busy on the road this summer: Foghat, which has been out with acts including the Sweet, Rainbow, and the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
—The #1 song on the Easy Listening chart is “Bluer Than Blue” by Michael Johnson, which knocks “Even Now” by Barry Manilow to #3. Two songs on Easy Listening that are vastly outperforming their Hot 100 number are “You Got It” by Diana Ross at #8 and “One Live to Live” by Lou Rawls at #10. (The latter has nothing to do with the TV soap of the same name.)
—The #1 song on the Hot Country Singles chart is “Two More Bottles of Wine” by Emmylou Harris; it takes over the top spot from Willie Nelson’s “Georgia on My Mind,” from his album Stardust, which is #1 on Hot Country LPs. Bonnie Tyler crosses over from pop with “It’s a Heartache” at #11; Linda Ronstadt is at #14 with the delicate and beautiful “I Never Will Marry,” a duet with an uncredited Dolly Parton, from Linda’s album Simple Dreams. Kenny Rogers is at #18 with a future pop crossover, “Love or Something Like It.” A song Rogers will return to the charts in a big way a few months from now, “The Gambler,” is at #82 in a version by the guy who wrote it, Don Schlitz. Anne Murray’s future #1 pop hit “You Needed Me” is at #30 and moving up. Future country legend Reba McEntire is at #36, duetting with Jacky Ward on “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” a cover of the England Dan and John Ford Coley hit from a couple of years before.
—There’s not a lot of action at the top of Hot Soul Singles: “Use Ta Be My Girl” by the O’Jays, “Take Me to the Next Phase” by the Isley Brothers, and “The Groove Line” by Heatwave hold at #1, #2, and #3. The O’Jays So Full of Love and the Isleys’ Showdown are atop the Soul LPs chart.
—Showdown is #4 on Top LPs and Tape, trailing Saturday Night Fever (#1 for the 22nd consecutive week), Chuck Mangione’s Feels So Good, and London Town by Wings. Earth by Jefferson Starship is #5; Gerry Rafferty’s City to City, which will take out Saturday Night Fever on the July 8 chart, is #6. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is #200 on the listing of 200 albums, in its 211th week on the chart. It will remain on the chart for nearly 10 more years before dropping off.
As I read about and listen to all this stuff, one overwhelming image comes back to me: how intently I listened to the radio, for hours at a time, every single day, all summer long, knowing that come the fall, I would be doing radio for real. It was dream that seemed to have taken a long time coming true.