American Top 40 PastBlast, 11/19/77: Dave Mason, “We Just Disagree”

I began buying 45s in the middle of 1976, right around the same time I started keeping my AT40 charts; my sister jumped in on the fun not long after. By the end of 1977, a high percentage of our allowance money was being shoved at Sears and Recordland in the Florence Mall, so much so that while listening to this weekend’s show it felt like close to half of the songs would have been in our hands by Christmas that year. I rifled through my collection of singles last night in an attempt to verify my memories. Several tunes I expected to find didn’t pop up, but they were mostly the ones I remember to be Amy’s–I guess they wound up in her hands in the end. A visit to my trusty Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles 1955-2002, which lists B-sides, helped me confirm those I don’t appear to have anymore.

With that, let’s take a peek at what was being spun on the turntable chez Harris 43 years ago. An asterisk * means the single must have been my sister’s.

#40. The Bay City Rollers, “The Way I Feel Tonight”
You are not going to shame me on this one (Amy and/or I also bought “I Only Wanna Be with You” and “You Made Me Believe in Magic”). It’d never really registered with me until this weekend that they modulate going into the chorus two different times. Whitburn notes this single was released with two different B-sides.

#39. Foreigner, “Cold As Ice”
Did this one have a single mix? In my head I always hear the strings more prominently.

#35. Meco, “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band”
There are two copies in my collection–pretty sure at least one of them came courtesy of a neighbor who lived up the street.

#32. *Bob Welch, “Sentimental Lady”
Was disappointed not to find this one. That winter I grabbed onto the flip side “Hot Love, Cold World,” which also wound up being the third single from French Kiss, hitting #31 in July 1978. How often was that sort of thing happening in the late 70s?

#23. Barry Manilow, “Daybreak”
This one wasn’t on 45–your humble blogger had broken out the big bucks several weeks earlier for Barry Manilow Live.

#22. The Babys, “Isn’t It Time”
With apologies to “I Feel Love” and “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” I’ll stick my neck out and claim this is the best record on the show. I wrote an homage to it three years ago in my first year of blogging; as a pop record, it’s just got it all.

#17. Dave Mason, “We Just Disagree”
A minor gem. My recollection is it didn’t take too many times hearing this on the radio before I went out and got it. Compact storytelling, mature lyrics, sweet harmonies. Still dig it.

#14. The Little River Band, “Help Is on Its Way”
Probably my favorite song at the time of this show. I imagine I’ve noted before that LRB was right up there with ELO as my favorite band in the late 70s.

#10. Carly Simon, “Nobody Does It Better”
It’s no “You’re So Vain,” but except for that one, I’m not sure I like anything of hers more. Not sure how it took me over forty years to understand the word toward the end between “Baby, baby” and “You’re the best” is an over-emoted and growled “Darling.”

#8. *Rita Coolidge, “We’re All Alone”
Between my “Lido Shuffle” 45 and subsequent purchase of Silk Degrees, I knew the song well by the time Coolidge released her version. I see how her take was a hit, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s better than Boz’s.

#7. Paul Nicholas, “Heaven on the 7th Floor”
If only this hadn’t climbed one more notch… A song designed to appeal to teenagers.

#6. *The Bee Gees, “How Deep Is Your Love”
The only single from Saturday Night Fever either one of us bought (no LP, either), though I liked “Night Fever” and “If I Can’t Have You” plenty. I guess we didn’t lack for hearing those songs on the radio practically any time we wanted.

#5. *Chicago, “Baby, What a Big Surprise”
Their last hit prior to Terry Kath’s death. Was always kind of meh on it.

#1. *Debby Boone, “You Light Up My Life”
Not my doing, as you can tell, though I’ll tip my hat to the key change at the end of “And fill my nights with song.”

Okay, so it turned out to be ‘only’ fourteen of this countdown’s songs (though some years later I would pick up “I Go Crazy” and “Send in the Clowns”). I’d keep buying 45s at a steady clip over the next 4 or so years–the rate probably began tailing off once I got to college.

As for a feature, let’s land on Mason, who would climb to #12 with “We Just Disagree.” He was almost a one-timer on AT40, touching #39 with a remake of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” seven months after this one peaked.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 11/11/72: Nilsson, “Spaceman”

A good while back I mentioned in passing that one of my good friends from high school introduced me to Harry Nilsson’s 1972 album Son of Schmilsson. He’d learned about it when we were seventh-graders, as a member of the golf team–one of the seniors played the cassette (or would it have been an 8-track?) in his car on the way to practice and matches. It would be the summer of 1979 before my friend shared his find with me. The main attraction was the utter naughtiness of some of its lyrics, chiefly Nilsson telling us how hard he sang to impress a female studio visitor in “Take 54” and giving the finger over and over to his soon-to-be-ex-wife in “You’re Breakin’ My Heart.” I mean, they’re tuneful pieces with fine studio playing, but that was plainly secondary to the opportunity to giggle over what Harry was getting away with singing. (I clearly wasn’t all that mature at 15 and 16.)

Forty years on, I hear Nilsson beginning to spiral a little out of control. He is not in particularly good voice, devolving into semi-screaming too often. There are some interesting songs: I guess I was too young to recognize “Ambush” as anti-Vietnam War or “I’d Rather Be Dead” as pro-assisted suicide (watch the video) when I first heard them. On the other hand, there’s “Joy,” which Casey noted on the 8/19/72 show was released as a country single under the pseudonym Buck Earl. (That Nilsson thought this was a reasonable idea is additional evidence that his judgment was already in decline, never mind the fact I laughed hard over this song many a time.)

What feels somewhat odd is that I don’t have memories from the late 70s of hearing the song on Son of Schmilsson that actually made the Top 40: “Spaceman” is at its peak of #23 on this show. It’s another tune of its time, touching on the same theme of feeling alienation while circling above the earth in a tin can we hear in “Rocket Man” and “Space Oddity” (“Spaceman” made AT40 in between those two, though of course Bowie’s piece was over three years old by the time it hit).

I still have the LP–I must have picked it up sometime while in college. But that wasn’t the only vinyl copy of Son of Schmillson I ever bought; my friend reminded me when I saw him a little over a year ago that I had given one to him as a gift in January 1985, just before he moved away from KY to start on his career as an air traffic controller (a job from which he retired this past July; my-oh-my, how the years do fly).

American Top 40 PastBlast, 10/23/82: Sylvia, “Nobody”

I’ve never been much of one for organizers and planners. When I was younger, I managed to do pretty well just storing things in my head. Now that I’ve reached the second half of my 50s, the old brain cells don’t quite function like they used to, and I’m starting to see the wisdom of entering appointments etc. on my phone.

When Mom and I went shopping for college supplies in the summer of 1982, one of the items we wound up with was a large pad for my dorm room desk, essentially a combination blotter/daily planner. I actually used it for the latter purpose most of my freshman year–for years after, alas, it served only in the former capacity. Yes, I still have the sheets for September 82-February 83–why do you ask, and why are you surprised? Here’s October:

This is one of the more fully filled-out months, even if it’s mostly due dates for assignments and birthdays. Somehow, I still have artifacts that verify a number of these notes, too. Let’s take a quick tour of a few:

October 6:

“S. O. L.” stands for Student Orientation Leader–maybe this was one final meeting with the group I’d gone through orientation with?

The interview was for my first newspaper article assignment; I posted a picture of that article this time last year, but I still have my notes from that interview, along with a second, with a faculty member, the following morning!

October 11:

We’d been reading parts of Plato’s Republic in Images of Man (our frosh comp-equivalent), and this was the day my three-pager on it was due. The comments from the professor mostly focus on how the paper would have been strengthened with some well-chosen quotes and support from Socrates, but I was given an A- in spite of that.

I typed that paper on my high school graduation gift:

The typewriter used cartridges for both film and correcting tape. When I popped the film cartridge out last night, I could identify the final characters I ever typed on it: Farmville, VA 23901. If I had to guess, I’d venture that was related to a job application to Longwood College (now University) in the spring of 1992.

October 15:

Two exams in one day. We had one in chemistry every other Friday (eight in all); this was the third. All were scored out of 90 points.

I’d be willing to bet the calculus test is in a drawer in my office, but I’ll just leave it there for now.

October 17:

Three years ago, I came across the first letter I sent home, dated 10/9. It referenced this upcoming event, in which I treated my new college friends to sights that formed a key part of my church youth group experience. (I wrote up my most recent trip to the Pinnacles here.)

Birthdays toward the end of the month included those of my maternal grandmother and my Great-Aunt Birdie (the latter’s birth occurred 119 years ago today–look for a write-up about her next year). The young woman I’d started dating earlier in the month shared her day with Aunt Birdie.

That fall, the local Top 40 station’s playlist included “Nobody,” country singer Sylvia’s one pop hit, stopping off at #25 on this show and heading toward a #15 peak. Not sure I ever hear the chorus without thinking just maybe I’m catching her singing along, perhaps like what might have happened while we were doing chemistry homework.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 10/20/79: Ian Gomm, “Hold On”

A few observations from the weekend in music 41 years ago:

–Several songs from this period had incredible helium. The previous week, “Heartache Tonight” jumped from #52 to #15. On this show, “Tusk” and “Still” made enormous advances (40-15 and 38-10, respectively). Over the next two weeks, “Babe” would go 26-14-7, and “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” would hopscotch 59-33-10. On the 11/3 chart, these five made up half of the top 10, all getting there by no later than their third week in the 40. I don’t think I encountered this sort of mass forward movement any other time while I was watching closely.

(A quick trip to the odd coincidence department: Premiere’s 80s show this weekend is 10/17/81. The Commodores have two songs on both countdowns, and just as with “Still,” they have the biggest mover within the show–“Oh No”–on the 81 countdown. Additionally, no matter which one you listen to, Barry Manilow debuts, and Foreigner and the Little River Band go back-to-back.)

–A few weeks ago, we heard “Fallin’ in Love,” by the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, on the 9/21/74 show. Five years later, those three made separate appearances on AT40. Chris Hillman had gotten back together with fellow former Byrds Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark and hit #33 with “Don’t Write Her Off” back in May. Richie Furay would have a solo hit in the #39-peaking “I Still Have Dreams” in December. And J. D. Souther is making his mark this week, as the future top 10 song “You’re Only Lonely” bows in at #37.

–More temporal shenanigans: Pop music lovers of a certain age may recall that Genesis and former lead vocalist Peter Gabriel hit #1 in consecutive weeks in the summer of 1986. A not nearly-so-notable confluence of a similar type is happening on this show. Nick Lowe and Ian Gomm were mates in the British pub band Brinsley Schwarz in the early 70s, and they each managed to have their one and only hit on the American charts virtually simultaneously. Lowe’s “Cruel to Be Kind” is just about to drop off after peaking at #12. Gomm, in his third week with “Hold On,” seems to be advancing nicely, having gone 34-26-20 so far. I recall being a little surprised back then at how quickly things fell apart; the next two weeks “Hold On” was at #18, and then it dropped off to #65, gone from the Hot 100 after one more week. It’s no classic, but it deserved a somewhat better fate. The crisp production and that gorgeous sax work keep it sounding fresh even today.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 10/3/70: Michael Nesmith and the First National Band, “Joanne”

Like lots of folks who grew up in the 70s, I had plenty of exposure to The Monkees via syndicated reruns on television. I couldn’t tell you any of the plot lines (such as they were) now, but I do recall the invariable silliness and slapstick nature of the show, frequently involving some ludicrous chase scene. Did I have a favorite Monkee? Probably Mickey, though Mike, as the more cerebral one, definitely held appeal as well. (I will admit I found the dark glasses Mike wore in the later episodes a bit scary.) I paid only slight attention when MTV introduced the series to a new generation of viewers during my last semester of college in 1986. The losses of Davy in February 2012 and Peter (with whom I share a birthday) almost seven years later didn’t go unnoticed in these parts, however.

Michael Nesmith’s name popped up for me a few times over the years. Eventually I learned he’d written “Different Drum.” I didn’t ever manage to see Elephant Parts when it came out in 1981, though I was well aware he was attached to it. And I probably caught wind while I was in college that Nesmith was executive producer of Repo Man. It would be decades, though, before I realized he’d had a post-Monkees Top 40 hit of his own.

October 4, 2014. Like so many Saturdays, I wake up early after a fitful night’s sleep. I slip quietly upstairs to the kitchen and fix myself a bowl of cereal and a small glass of orange juice. As usual, I launch the TuneIn app on my iPad and set it to WMVL, Cool 101.7, out of Meadville, PA, to catch the 70s rebroadcast of AT40. I keep the volume low enough so as not to disturb–they begin their show each week at 7:00am. After breakfast, it’s back downstairs to shower and dress, maybe even make the bed.

By the start of the second hour, I’m ensconced in a chair in the main room of the basement, the den. (That chair nowadays is in my living room; I’m sitting in it as I type these words.) Maybe I’m grading, but it’s also quite possible I’m playing a stupid game on the iPad. What I do remember particularly is the string of songs I hear over a 30-minute period, the final two for probably the first time:

#27. Grand Funk Railroad, “Closer to Home”
#26. Linda Ronstadt, “Long, Long Time”
#25. The New Seekers, “Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma”
#24. Three Dog Night, “Out in the Country”
#23. R. Dean Taylor, “Indiana Wants Me”
#22. Hotlegs, “Neanderthal Man”
#21. Michael Nesmith and the First National Band, “Joanne”

It must not be long afterward that I hear stirring upstairs. Mom stays up plenty late watching TV and has a harder time each week getting going in the morning. I better go check on things.

(It’s hearing the story Casey tells about the multi-national New Seekers again, here in 2020, that jolts me and sends me back in time six years. I start to tear up when I sing “I wish I had you to talk to” along with Taylor.)

“Joanne” is a sad, beautiful song; I can listen to it over and again. That #21 showing, fifty years ago now, was its best.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 9/25/76: Paul Davis, “Superstar”

WSAI in Cincinnati spent a few weeks late in the summer of our nation’s Bicentennial trying to break Paul Davis’s lead single from his album Southern Tracks and Fantasies. I confess that all I picked up at the time was the beginning of the chorus, “Superstar, I want to thank you for what you are,” somehow not realizing it was all about showing appreciation to four rock luminaries of the day (I like it now plenty, but seriously, what’s up with telling Linda Ronstadt that she’s “lookin’ thinner than (she) used to be”?). My recollection is that WSAI had already dropped “Superstar” by the time it made AT40 in September. This was its third and final week on the show, at its peak position of #35.

So I’d also missed Davis’s line, “On your six ninety-eight, Lord, you sound so great,” not that I would necessarily have recognized the number as the then-suggested list price for a vinyl LP. But hearing the song again this week got me wondering just how long this lyric reflected reality. I couldn’t think of any phrase to enter in Google that gave me any dope on the history of LP prices; then I remembered that album prices were included on Billboard‘s Top LPs chart for a good while. After a little digging around the archives at worldradiohistory.com, I have a few things to report, in case anyone cares.

Billboard began showing suggested list prices in the 2/17/73 issue. I chose to look at the LP charts from the first week of July, about the time of year that “Superstar” was released, between 1973 and 1988. That’s essentially up to the end of the Classic Casey era (though there’s another reason to consider that as a cutoff date, as we’ll see). To keep things simple, I’m focusing only on the albums in the Top 10.

Year$5.98$6.98$7.98$8.98$9.98No List2 LPs
197382
19742611
1975181
197682
1977181
197882
1979541
1980343
198182
19821441
1983631
198455
1985532
1986721
1987253
1988154

Some notes and thoughts:
–The “no list price” in 1974 was Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
–In 1976, cassettes and 8-tracks are listed at $7.98. Thereafter, prices match for the three formats.
–Sitting at #6 in 1981 was Hard Promises. Just a week earlier, on the 6/27/81 show, Casey told one of my favorite stories, about Petty’s resistance to listing his new album at $9.98, going so far as to threaten to re-title it as The Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ $8.98 Album if MCA gave it the higher price. (Hat tip to the Soft Rock Kid for reminding me of the exact ‘alternative’ title). Hard Promises is indeed listed at $8.98 (so were subsequent TP albums), but I’m guessing that the growth in the “no list” column through the first half of the 80s was not-so-secretly about pushing $9.98 titles.
–The Human League’s Dare is the $6.98 LP in 1982.
Genesis and 90125 are the first legit $9.98 titles I see, on the 1984 chart, already well off their peaks from earlier in the year.
–All of the Top 5 in 1987 were listed at $9.98 (Whitney, U2, the Crüe, Whitesnake, and Heart).

But major change was creeping in as the 80s progressed. Check out part of this article on the front page of the 7/7/84 issue of Billboard:

Soon after, most top titles are also being released on CD: 7 out of the Top 10 in 1985, 8 in 1986, and all 10 in 1987 and 1988.

But back to where this started: we can see that line in “Superstar” was obsolete within months. Maybe it’s just as well it didn’t make an impression in real time?

American Top 40 PastBlast, 9/5/81: REO Speedwagon, “In Your Letter”

Even at the beginning of my senior year in HS, I was buying only the occasional LP—maybe I had around a dozen by then. One, likely purchased sometime early in the summer of 1981, was REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity. I liked it pretty well; it definitely got quite a few spins on my dad’s turntable in our basement back then. While in college, I picked up You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish and Wheels Are Turnin’, but it’s fair to say that Hi Infidelity is still the REO album I know best overall.

A quick check at setlist.fm tells me that the Speedwagon played Champaign once while I was at UIUC, in November 1987. I didn’t go, and I don’t really recall any swelling sense of love for the hometown heroes during my time there, either. Nonetheless, I tip my hat to them for working hard and making good.

As I’ve done with other albums from my teen years that I owned, I’m taking a crack at ranking Hi Infidelity’s tracks.

10. “I Wish You Were There”
I get that rock bands need to do the ballad thing (though that’s frequently not my thing), and I guess this one isn’t terrible? It didn’t do much for me back in 1981, either, though.

9. “Don’t Let Him Go”
Third single, got to #24 the first two weeks of August. I seem to remember a school dance early that fall (DJ’ed by students) where this one got played—it cleared the floor. I’m just hoping I wasn’t the one responsible for that…

8. “Shakin’ It Loose”
How many times did I listen to this album after I graduated from HS, though? Very, very few. I’ll confess now that the names of the last three songs on side two didn’t trigger any music in my head prior to playing them earlier today. That said, I like this one fine—nice piano solo from Neal Doughty, for sure—but it’s still pretty close to filler.

7. “Someone Tonight”
Bassist Bruce Hall wrote it and sang lead. The sentiment behind the lyric is, um, uninspiring. Nonetheless, it’s a decent little rocker with good harmonies.

6. “In Your Letter”
This week’s #28 song, heading toward a peak of #20. I’m surprising myself a little by placing it as high as this, given that it didn’t exactly groove me in real time; I’m coming around to admiring it for channeling the pop of years past.

5. “Keep on Loving You”
On the other hand, maybe this one’s the victim of hearing it too much over the decades. It made #1 on my own chart for two weeks at the end of February (see, I can like rock ballads). Full credit for the “missin’/listen/hissin’” rhyme in verse one.

4. “Take It on the Run”
One of three songs—along with “I Love You” and “Sweetheart”—that became instant favorites in April and dominated my charts in May (got to #5 on the Hot 100, three weeks at #2 for me). This one may be the reason I bought the album. I remember it getting played over PAs at track meets that spring.

3. “Tough Guys”
Does Gary Richrath’s screaming guitar sound add to the song or not? I’m torn. This one has more fun writing (great second verse, and I’m a fan of “she’s gonna call your bluff, guys”). I’ll also cop to approval of the Little Rascals intro.

2. “Out of Season”
Another pop-rock gem. I was listening to WEBN, the AOR station in Cincinnati, quite a bit at this point, and I have to believe they were playing all of the top 3 in this list that summer. Classic song structure, but so well-executed.

1. “Follow My Heart”
First heard this by flipping over my “Keep On Loving You” 45, and liked it immediately. The urgency was palpable to a 17-year-old, not that I had any reason to relate to Kevin Cronin’s dilemma. It’s the cut from Hi Infidelity I would pick to take with me if made to choose just one, so that puts it at the top of the list. (It was the third song in the mixtape series that kicked off this blog, too.)

American Top 40 PastBlast, 8/28/76: Red Sovine, “Teddy Bear”

In the Classic Casey era between July 1970 and August 1988, there were only five (as best as I can tell) occasions when there was a single new entry on the show. Casey notes at the beginning of the 8/28/76 show that he can’t recall a time where this had occurred before, and with good reason: it hadn’t while he’d been hosting. Here are the five, along with some miscellanea. With one exception, these were not heavy chart hitters.

8/28/76
Song: Red Sovine, “Teddy Bear”
Debut Position: #40
Peak: #40
Number of weeks on AT40: 1
Replaced: Queen, “You’re My Best Friend”

5/20/78
Song: Linda Ronstadt, “Tumbling Dice”
Debut Position: #37
Peak: #32
Number of weeks on AT40: 3
Replaced: Parliament, “Flash Light”

9/20/80
Song: Elton John, “(Sartorial Eloquence) Don’t Ya Wanna Play This Game No More?”
Debut Position: #40
Peak: #39
Number of weeks on AT40: 2
Replaced: Robert John, “Hey There Lonely Girl”

10/19/85
Song: Mr. Mister, “Broken Wings”
Debut Position: #35
Peak: #1
Number of weeks on AT40: 15 (including the frozen chart of 1/5/86)
Replaced: Huey Lewis and the News, “The Power of Love”

1/9/88
Song: The Cure, “Just Like Heaven”
Debut Position: #40
Peak: #40
Number of weeks on AT40: 1
Replaced: The Kane Gang, “Motortown”

The sample is way too small to draw any meaningful conclusion, but I do find it curious that four of the five had little-to-no traction after making the show. Maybe a slow Hot 100 week made it more likely that such a song was already losing momentum?

“Teddy Bear,” in addition to being maudlin, isn’t decent poetry–too frequently meter is wrecked in order to cram in a rhyme. That said, Casey does have a genuinely sad story to share as he leads off the show: Norma Sovine, Red’s wife, died suddenly the day after Red recorded “Teddy Bear.”

My friend Warren spent his early years in Nashville. His parents are now buried there, and, as it happens, their plot is only about 150 yards from that of Woodrow Wilson “Red” and Norma Sovine. Warren and I occasionally have extended messaging sessions over Facebook, a mix of catching up and chatting about music. Sovine’s work has come up a couple of times, and he’s done me the favor (?) of pointing out other classics such as “Billy’s Christmas Wish” and “Little Joe.” (Let me be clear: he didn’t share them because he thought they were good.) I know that many folks appreciate spoken-word pieces of this ilk, but I confess I find these just a little over the top.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 8/19/72: The Detroit Emeralds, “Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)”

I know I’ve said it before, but the single most enjoyable aspect of listening to these old shows has been learning about all the early 70s hits I somehow missed growing up, particularly songs from the R&B side of the spectrum. I’m hoping one day to compile a list of the great soul tunes I now know, but for today, we’ll settle for presenting a prime example, this show’s #27 tune. I don’t know that I’ve yet heard “Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)” outside of the rebroadcasts from those few weeks it was striving toward a #24 peak. But boy, is it a sweet cut.

Casey names the three Emeralds as he introduces the song this week: brothers Ivory and Abrim Tilmon, along with James Mitchell. In putting this together I learned that Mitchell has a co-writing credit on “Float On,” the Floaters’ big #2 hit from 1977, and that “Leo, and my name is Paul” is Mitchell’s brother.

With the playing of 8/19/72 this weekend, there are now only two Casey-hosted regular AT40s from the 70s that have not be rebroadcast by Premiere, and oddly, they’re back-to-back shows: 11/24 and 12/1/79. I’m not quite sure how they managed that, but it looks like it’ll be late 2021 before the series finally gets completed.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 8/6/83: Charlie, “It’s Inevitable”

I spent Friday afternoon working on Canvas, the “learning management system” we use at my institution. An LMS functions as a clearinghouse of sorts for courses–one can post the syllabus, link to video presentations and slide shows, make assignments (which allows students to upload their work and profs to grade it without printing it),etc. I, and many of my colleagues, will be making greater use of Canvas this semester than previously (I’ve also been given pointers on good LMS practices from those on campus who are more tech-savvy–I can only hope I’m implementing their ideas reasonably). My musical companion for those four hours was the 8/6/83 show, broadcast by an AM station out of Black River Falls, WI.

I go back to the classroom tomorrow, in-person for the first time since March 6. My school is going to attempt face-to-face instruction for the most part (folks with good reason to do so are opting to teach online). The powers that be have taken about as thoughtful an approach as possible given the choice to bring students back. We’re starting a week earlier than originally planned and have eliminated breaks, so that fall classes will be done before Thanksgiving. They divided the semester into two seven-week-plus terms (I’ll have two classes each term). There’s been a lot of work done on improving ventilation, air flow and air quality, as well as re-thinking traffic flow, in a number of buildings. They’ve created a number of outdoor meeting spaces for classes, though I’m not likely to be able to leverage those much. Everyone is required to wear a face covering in public spaces, including classes of course, and there’s what seems to be a good plan for contact tracing. Due to distancing requirements, I’m splitting most of my classes into two groups, meeting with each every other class period (which means I’m creating and posting lots of videos filled with course content that students ostensibly watch ahead of time). Even with all this, I can’t say I’m particularly optimistic about success. I’m plenty nervous and figure that the realities on the ground are eventually going to drive us back to fully online instruction. I suppose one can wish for the moment that there will be some good arising from being together for a while. I know I’ll be as cautious as I can.

I’ll be in this classroom at 2:00 four days per week through the end of September. Martha made the mask for me out of a beloved shirt that had worn out.

My son’s college is going to be trying out what sounds like a similar plan, with some added bells and whistles like periodic random testing. He won’t be leaving until the end of the month and will be sharing a suite with three good friends. If they can just all stay clean… Once we drop him off, we don’t expect to see him again until Thanksgiving, assuming all goes well.

Ben is about to start his sophomore year. That’s where I was when the show I heard on Friday was originally broadcast. It was the middle of a summer full of self-inflicted angst, a precursor to a fairly unsettled fall semester. For entirely different reasons, I worry that my son’s second college autumn will also be sub-optimal.

Sitting at #40 is the one song by the British band Charlie that ever made the show. While it rose to #38 the following week before falling off, “It’s Inevitable” didn’t get played on that Keri Tombazian guest-hosted 8/13 show, due to a bizarre charting accident. Thus, 8/6 was the only time AT40 listeners got to hear it.

I was already a little familiar with the band. WKRQ had played the #54-peaking “She Loves To Be in Love” quite a bit five years earlier (we’ll see evidence of that in my next Charts post). As best as I can read Charlie’s Wiki page, there’d been a decent amount of turnover in personnel after 1978, even a new lead singer. Their earlier sound was certainly poppier; “It’s Inevitable” feels more like a cross between Def Leppard and the Sherbs (the vocalist reminds me of Daryl Braithwaite, for certain).

Can’t imagine Joe Elliott and the boys going for the slapstick thing, though.