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. 

Charts of Long-Ago Early Autumns

Another foray into my page protector-filled binders of AT40 charts…

Okay, so 9/19 isn’t quite early autumn, but I claim it’s close enough.

Who knows how long it would be before I learned how to spell Mersey?

After I got my license, I was somewhat free not to listen to full shows, as I could fill holes by hitting up Recordland at the Florence Mall to take a peek at the Hot 100 they posted there. The evidence this very likely occurred is in the missing 60s Archive song and fourth-hour LDD, pretty common on my charts from this time frame. On this occasion, I skipped out on the Feb/Mar 68 #1 “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat and a dedication of Kenny Rogers’ “Lady” (I’m happy to report I’ve already forgotten what prompted the letter-writer when I heard this show a few weeks ago–it’s never been a favorite).

Next, my own 81 musings:

I’m still alright with that whole Top 10. I was beginning to be less interested in ELO by the time of Time, but “Hold On Tight” was one of my father’s top 25 songs of all time. I’d been digging on “Burnin’ for You” for quite a while by this point, even though it hadn’t debuted on the show yet.

As for 78, I must have had other things going on that week–this one just has the facts. It was the last of the three-hour shows; my recollection is that WLAP-AM started an hour earlier the next Saturday evening, catching me off-guard–I think I missed the first few songs.

Up next, here’s early October of 80:

Why yes, I’d been driving for several months by Oct of 80–why do you ask? This time I’d missed out on Chubby Checker’s second go-round at the top with “The Twist” and an LDD of Ray Charles’s “Georgia on My Mind”–that was a loss back then, but not this past weekend.

As for my own 80 favorites:

Irene Cara, Billy Joel, ELO, Ambrosia, Eddie Rabbitt, George Benson–those were the artists whose songs buoyed me through August and September that year. “Midnight Rocks” and “Who’ll Be the Fool Tonight,” despite never getting out of the 20s nationally, were future chart-toppers for me.

And last but not least, here are two Q102 lists from more or less the corresponding periods of 78 and 80:

The 78 list, from my sister’s sweet thirteenth birthday, is kinda interesting in spots. The big news to me is that Bee Gees/Frampton piece being so high–I don’t remember it getting played wall-to-wall at the time, though that doesn’t mean much. (The Beatles’ original was sitting at its peak of #71 on the 9/30/78 Hot 100.) Q102 was a laggard on “Love Is in the Air,” aggressive with “Who Are You,” “London Town,” and “Straight On,” and really forward-looking on “The Power of Gold”–it was still two weeks away from its Hot 100 debut.

The 80 chart is much more conventional, maybe even a bit lagging time-wise–they do seem to be out in front on “She’s So Cold” and “I’m Almost Ready,” but I’ll note that Pure Prairie League had deep roots in the local scene.

Charts of Augusts Past

Time to play catch-up with charts for shows Premiere rebroadcast during the second half of August. This time around we’re capturing moments when I’m about to start 8th grade, 11th grade, and college.

First, 8/16/80:

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The missing 60s Archives #1 is the extremely brief “Stay,” from Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. Additionally, “My Eyes Adored You” was a LDD during the last hour of the show. Can only wonder now why I used a different pen for the bottom 20.

As to what I was thinking:

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ON-J is in her third of four at the top; Carnes is about to interrupt her stay for two weeks. Eventually, the Stones, Air Supply, and Cara would reach #1. There was always a week’s lag in Billboard chart date and mine–that’s why you don’t see “Upside Down” here (Ross is debuting at #34).

But what’s that song at #8?

My descent into arcade video gaming had begun earlier in the summer after coming across Space Invaders. A few weeks later, Q102 was playing this novelty piece by a Cleveland DJ. Yes, my brain was sufficiently cooked to have bought the 45. It would get one spot higher on my chart.

Next up, 8/21/82:

Continue reading “Charts of Augusts Past”

American Top 40 PastBlast, 9/11/76: Ohio Players, “Who’d She Coo”

In the fall of 77, my 8th grade English teacher passed out a small, bound booklet with around fifty blank 5.5″ by 8.5″ pages to everyone in the class. The assignment: assemble a “creative notebook.” We were to come up with ten articles on topics of our choosing, enliven them with illustrations or photos, and decorate the cover as we saw fit. My awesome title: The Past, Present, and Future of William Richard Harris. Included are a one-page sci-fi story, an editorial (“Students Should Eat Their Lunch!”), a diatribe on “What I Would Do To Improve the World” (apparently, I would crack down on pollution yet encourage energy companies to drill for more oil to avert an energy crisis), a reflective piece on “How I Look To Others,” and an ode to My Favorite Person, my father. (I didn’t ignore the rest of the family–the notebook was dedicated to Mom, Sis, and our dog Friskie.)

My AT40 obsession is on display in other articles. “Life of an American Top 40 Song” provides a week-by-week accounting of the path Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat” took as it climbed to and fell from its #8 peak earlier in 77. “What I Hope To Be Doing 10 Years From Now” is, well, let me just show you the first paragraph:

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The things 13-year-olds write…

Finally, there was “The Top 40 Coincidences,” which spells out in detail the two times I found new AT40 stations just as WSAI in Cincinnati was changing its schedule. The first was the weekend of 9/11/76: early that Sunday morning, I heard Casey announcing “Who’d She Coo” at #20 as I flipped my trusty transistor radio past WAKY, a well-known AM station in Louisville. I scribbled the titles down in the same little spiral notebook I’d used to track The National Album Countdown during the summer, at least through #11 (I could get the Top 10 out of the Sunday Cincinnati Enquirer). It was good to have found another option for catching some of the show, and it got even better later than evening, when it became apparent that WSAI had discontinued AT40. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t hear full shows or resume chart-keeping until 10/16, when WSAI brought Kasem back. There exists a half-hearted accounting of the portion of the 9/11 show I did hear:

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(For the sake of completeness: the second ‘coincidence’ occurred in early February 77, when WSAI moved the show from evening to morning on Sundays, in conflict with church attendance. The following Saturday night, I found AT40 on WLAP-AM in Lexington–perhaps that explains my interest in future employment there.)

I knew the Ohio Players, out of Dayton, best for “Love Rollercoaster,” their #1 hit from earlier in 76. Like so many others, I was aware at the time of the false rumor that the scream one hears about halfway through was that of a woman being murdered in the studio during recording. The groovy, funky “Who’d She Coo” was the eighth and would be the final song of theirs to make the countdown. It wound up climbing just a couple of spots higher from where I heard it that September Sunday morning.

6/17/78, 6/30/79, and 7/10/76 Charts (With Bonus)

All the recent rebroadcasts from the latter half of the 70s mean I have more charts to share.

First, 6/17/78, which took place during our DC/VA vacation that summer. I presume I got the info from Recordland at the Florence Mall, perhaps right before we left town, and simply jotted down the bare facts quickly. The 7/24 and 8/1 charts are similarly perfunctory (8/1? The week of the updated Top Acts of the 70s show? More on that below).

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Next, 6/30/79. This is the week I shook up the presentation of my 79 charts, moving all the extra songs to the bottom of the page, though I attempted to indicate when each was played. Missed on that Village People pick (“Go West” stalled at #45).

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For some reason, I had no interest in keeping records of special countdowns (save year-enders)–I was strictly a Billboard chart guy. A visit to Recordland became de rigueur on those weeks when Casey wasn’t doing his regular thing. As an example, here’s 7/7/79, the weekend of the Top 40 Hits of the Disco Era. It’s the usual chart with just the top five songs from the special noted. I guess I listened to special shows when I could, but there’s virtually nothing in my files about them.

(Gotta love my attempt at spelling Sharona.)

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I have Q102’s charts from the Mondays following both the rebroadcast 78 and 79 shows. (I wrote about their 6/26/78 chart last year). With respect to 79, gotta say I’m somewhat chagrined seeing Rex Smith at #2. They certainly weren’t leaders at all on “Ring My Bell,” “Bad Girls,” or “Makin’ It,” and note that “Love You Inside Out” is nowhere to be seen–maybe these are signs of the backlash brewing?

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Lastly, we’ve got this amusing 7/10/76 chart. It was the week after the special show that featured the #1 songs from the past forty Independence Days. There was no Recordland for me to consult yet–the mall wouldn’t open for another couple of months–so I’m speculating about the previous week’s position in the “NOTCHES” column in many cases. The “Prediction* for this week” column was a one-time deal: it appears I was attempting to extrapolate two weeks’ worth of movement from the 6/27 chart. Fun stuff there, including two listings for “Rock and Roll Music” and thinking “Takin’ It to the Streets” would be in the top 10 when in reality it wasn’t even on the show any more. Based on what we see, I can’t say I blame my twelve-year-old self for electing not to list any predictions made beyond #12.

Some quick observations: 1) We’ve got another “Fin Lizzie” sighting–that got fixed the following week; 2) I distinctly remember hearing the Zeppelin extra in real time, as well as Casey reporting it as being the loudest song ever recorded; 3) Clearly I couldn’t parse “England Dan and John Ford Coley” on either side of its being played at the start of the show. I wouldn’t get either “Ford” or “Coley” right until the 8/21 show, either. For the moment, I’ll leave you in suspense as to what the varied manglings were.

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Late May/Early June Chart Omnibus

Premiere has been flooding the airwaves these last few weeks with shows from my charting years. Let’s take a quick look at the four most recently played (yet another is scheduled for this weekend), along with some other odds and ends.

First up, 5/30/81:

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Even though I like the Photoglo song plenty, that’s a pretty weak set of debut songs.

As for my own rankings:

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That’s a super-solid top 11, depending on how you feel about Stars on 45, but having T. G. Sheppard get so high makes me cringe now (I think I had “I Loved ’em Every One” climb up to #9). I clearly had trouble fitting John O’Banion’s song in the space allotted.

It’s been a while since I showed what Q102 was playing back then, so here’s something from as close to this 81 countdown as I have:

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Gotta say this is mighty non-adventurous. I distinctly remember them playing that Styx LP medley all the time.

Much more over the fold, with stuff from 76, 77, and 82.

Continue reading “Late May/Early June Chart Omnibus”