10/15/77, 10/30/82, and 11/11/78 Charts

As noted on Tuesday, I allowed myself to get derailed in my chart-keeping for the remainder of 77 when I broke my wrist on 11/5. Three weeks earlier, I’d switched to putting all 40 songs on a single page for the first time–those three charts became essentially a prototype for what I did through all of 78.

Don’t know why I wasn’t up on the name of Donna’s album (I Remember Yesterday). Apparently I decided that ten lines was too much space for the Top 10 to consume when I got back to organized charting at the beginning of 78–I clearly needed some space for extras, etc.

New potential ongoing feature: Hello/Goodbye, in which we check for acts either in their first or final week ever on AT40. No hellos on this one, but we are saying goodbye to Ted Nugent as a solo act–he’d be back in thirteen years as lead axeman for Damn Yankees.

If we’re at the end of 82, then all I have is to share is my own personal ranking of the hits of the day:

Several holdovers that had already fallen off of the real 40: Randy Meisner, Kim Wilde, .38 Special, and Billy Idol. Usually a big ON-J fan, but “Heart Attack” is probably the song of hers I like least. Frey was just about to knock his former Eagle buddy off his perch.

Lastly, this past weekend’s 78 show:

I’m amused that I first thought Joel’s new single was called “High Life.” I sure wish I hadn’t crammed all the extras and #1’s of the 70s into those tiny boxes–clearly, I had plenty of room! Missing is the LDD from the 4th hour: “Easy.”

This show is Donna Summer’s first turn ever at #1–over the following thirteen months, she’d accumulate twelve more weeks in that spot.

Hello/Goodbye: Seven songs are about to depart, but only John Paul Young would never return. And even though its members had played on various hits to this point, we’re getting Toto as an entity unto itself for the first time.

SotD: The Carpenters, “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”

Like just about every kid, I had bumps and bruises, scrapes and scabs growing up. I was pretty fast and loved to race, but otherwise wasn’t athletic or especially coordinated. There were a goodly number of children within a year or two of me in our neighborhood, our back yard was large, and my grandparents lived on a small farm about ten miles away—it feels like I was outdoors plenty, especially in my pre-high school years. With that, though, always comes the risk of getting hurt.

I can think of a couple of incidents where I completely lucked out in avoiding serious injury. Our house was close to the corner of Bedinger Ave. and Plum St.; Plum ran entirely downhill. One summer afternoon not too long after we moved to Walton—let’s say it was in 73, which would have made me 9 years old—I was riding my one-speed red bicycle down Plum. At the bottom was a dead end into a grassy field, with a sharp right onto Catalina Dr. Whether out of a sense of adventure or recklessness (or both), I found myself going too fast to take the turn or stop. As I left the street, my bike and I turned a somersault through the air. The bike and I separated, and I landed on my back. After a few seconds of verifying there were no major issues, I sprung up and slowly wheeled my bike up the hill. I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, of course.

A second close call happened a year or two later, at my grandparents’ farm in Union. They let a local farmer keep cows in one of their fields, and the loft in the barn was used for storing hay. My cousin Alan also lived close by, and there were several occasions when he would be out there at the same time as my sister and I. One time when the three of us found ourselves at loose ends, we climbed up into the loft, which had a trap door near the center of the floor. We discovered the door open and began horsing around, pretending to push one another toward the hole. Except that Amy and Alan took it a little too far with me. Down I went; I tried to grab onto the floor as I sailed through, but that just altered my momentum enough to land on my back hard on the packed dirt floor. Again, I was able to get up and walk away with nothing more than some soreness. That was the end of playing in the loft, though I don’t think we got in particular trouble over it.

My luck ran out 42 years ago today. I’ve mentioned a time or two before that I suffered a broken left wrist on 11/5/77, but to date I’ve elided exactly how it happened. Today you get the embarrassing details. 

My sister had turned 12 about a month earlier; it could be that one of her gifts that year was a skateboard (she was the family athlete)—regardless, Amy and at least one friend from down the street had one by this point. That Saturday was a warm and cloudy day, and a few of us wound up in my next-door neighbor’s driveway with the skateboards. One thing led to another and, in spite of my inexperience, I found myself standing on two skateboards, one for each foot. Boards started rolling, balance got lost, I fell backward and tried to brace my fall—you can tell how this story ends. 

Mom was soon apprised of my mischief, and off we took to Covington (the hospitals hadn’t migrated away from the river yet). It took quite a while, but eventually an x-ray confirmed what was obvious (waiting for the orthopedist, another doctor sauntered by, lifted my arm, and muttered, “Yes, it’s broken,” before wandering off). Fortunately, it was a clean break, so I was casted for the minimum time, about four weeks. I kept the cast, full of autographs from my classmates, for many more years than I should have.

Since it was Saturday, I had an AT40 to catch at 8pm; we made it home in time. I’d started a new chart design three weeks earlier (you’ll see one of those later in the week), but that got cast aside (no pun intended) that evening. Apparently there was time enough to sit in front of the typewriter in our basement before Casey came on:

As I noted when I first wrote about this experience, the song that always springs to mind was that show’s opener, the penultimate trip to the show by the Carpenters. We’ll mark the anniversary of my folly with the full seven-plus minute LP version. 

American Top 40 PastBlast, 11/11/78: Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg, “The Power of Gold”

Our Christmas gift to each other in 2004 was an iPod, fourth generation, I think. A few months earlier, I’d begun collecting CDs that contained my “original forty,” the songs appearing on the 6/5/76 countdown; the last few were painfully obtained via our new iTunes account, over a non-broadband internet connection in our apartment in Ithaca, NY. As I’ve mentioned previously, afterward I began eyeing other shows to re-assemble. Over the course of roughly the next five years, a total of thirty-two collections, covering a ten-year span from June 76 to May 86, were loaded onto that iPod. For the remotely interested, here they are:

19766/5, 10/2
19771/29, 5/7, 7/30, 11/5
19781/28,4/29, 11/11
19794/7, 8/25, 11/10
19804/12, 8/30, 12/6
19814/18, 7/18, 10/3
19821/23, 6/5, 9/4, 11/13
19833/5, 5/7
19841/21, 4/21, 10/20
19852/2, 5/18, 8/24
19861/18, 5/24

There were at least five or six more 40s I assembled a little later on that don’t appear in that table–they wound up on an iPad 2.

Not all the sets listed above have (or can) be rebroadcast by Premiere. 4/7/79 was guest-hosted, and 10/2/76 featured “The 40 Biggest Hits of the Beatles Years.” I haven’t heard all of the other thirty since I started listening to the rebroadcasts, but this is the weekend that the last of them, 11/11/78, finally gets its first turn in the spotlight.

What were my reasons for picking the weeks I did? Sometimes it was a matter of whether all the songs were available digitally; others were chosen because of a specific subset of tunes I liked. A decade-plus out, I can only guess now the exact reasons for 11/11/78’s inclusion, but it’s very likely the combination of excellent tracks we hear in the show’s first hour: “Like a Sunday in Salem,” “Talking in Your Sleep,” “It’s a Laugh,” and perhaps best of all, “The Power of Gold.” The future #24 song, at #32 in its second week on the show, was probably my introduction to Fogelberg’s work.

From the Archives: Ben’s 9th Birthday

Continuing what’s now become an All Saints’ Day tradition by going back to see what happened on my son’s birthday a decade ago.

11/1/09 was a Sunday, and Martha’s mother and sister were staying with us. Ben opened a few presents at the breakfast table before we headed to church.

My parents came to visit in the afternoon, for a fuller celebration. The boy might have received some Lego that day.

The theme for the cake that year was aquatic:

Those are candies that Martha made sitting on top of the cake–she’d bought some molds. There were just a few left over…

A couple of Saturdays later, we took Ben and two of his friends to the aquarium in Newport, KY, right on the Ohio River across from Cincinnati. Here he is on some sort of giant toad in a play area there:

Right outside the aquarium is a plaza, along with some surrounding shops. After we’d finished chilling with the sharks, penguins, and rays, the boys were wowed by a street magician plying his trade on the plaza.

Happy birthday, Bud!

We get to see Ben on his birthday this year–it happens that this is also Family Weekend at his college, so we’re heading out after I get done with my own classes. Martha’s made a cake big enough to feed all the guys on his floor.

There’s a small lake in the middle of the campus, and it seems to be de rigueur for birthday celebrants to be tossed into it. It will be in the 30s tonight when they get around to “laking” Ben, but I think he’s actually looking forward to it a reasonable amount–it’s not like it can be avoided.

In the years after I left home, my parents would do their best to call me and talk for a few minutes on my birthday at the exact time of day when I was born (fortunately, it was late morning and not something like 3:00am). Now that Ben’s begun that phase of his life, at some point I may attempt to see how well he’d abide such a thing. His official birth time isn’t all that different from mine, about 30 minutes later. I’m not in class this morning at that time, but he will be. Maybe some other year…