Songs Casey Never Played, 9/13/80

Somehow in doing more than twenty of these SCNP posts, I’ve yet to include one from 1980. Let’s rectify that right here and right now, mostly featuring acts trying to followup on Top 40 hits from earlier in the year, with some personal faves tossed in.

96. Lipps Inc., “Rock It”
Minneapolis studio group tries to capitalize on the biggest dance hit of the year, but are unable to navigate the path from Funky Town back to AT40. They’d rocked it all the way to #64 with this jam, but are now about to fall off the chart, never to be seen again.

86. Ali Thomson, “Live Every Minute”
The younger brother of Supertramp’s bassist falls out of the 40 this week with the delightful “Take a Little Rhythm,” while debuting with his next single. “Live Every Minute” sounds a whole lot like brother Dougie’s band; I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the boys were playing on it, particularly Rick Davies on keyboards. It missed the show by a whisker, reaching #42.

79. Rossington Collins Band, “Don’t Misunderstand Me”
The group formed out of surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lead singer Dale Krantz married Gary Rossington within a couple of years of this song’s charting. Coming down off a #55 high; I’ve always liked it a bunch.

65. The Kings, “Switchin’ to Glide/This Beat Goes On”
This is in the fourth of a twenty-three week ride that somehow ended only at #43. It sure seems I heard at least one band playing this at a state conference dance during my senior year (likely Beta Club, in December 1981).

61. Journey, “Good Morning Girl/Stay Awhile”
Our second double-sided single. Hot take: it’s better than “Open Arms” and “Faithfully.” Liked it enough to have it make my personal top 50 for a few weeks even without it getting to the 40; it’s another one that couldn’t make it past #55.

59. Ray, Goodman & Brown, “My Prayer”
“Special Lady” had been a #5 hit back in the spring for the trio formerly known as the Moments. This was the lead single from Ray, Goodman & Brown II, a faithful cover of the Platters’ #1 song from 1956. It was a couple of weeks away from topping out at #47.

Bonus content #1: A look at what WKRQ in Cincinnati was playing then. The back of this sheet promotes a contest to send a lucky listener and guest to see Elton do Honolulu in mid-November (including seven days’ accommodations and a grand in mad money).

Bonus content #2: My 10 faves from this week, the only one to feature the Stones at the top. It’s plenty soft-rockish, but collectively, IMO this is one of my better Top 10s of the year. If I had a do-over, though, I might swap “Give Me the Night” at #11 with either Eddie Rabbitt or Genesis.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 6/19/76: ‘Fin Lizzie’, “The Boys Are Back in Town”

The third weekend of June 1976 was the second time I wrote down the songs being played on AT40. As well-documented here many a time previously, my first chart is from the 6/5/76 show; the next week, I missed the first seven songs due to attendance at a Cincinnati Reds doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals. For some reason I elected not to make a formal record of that week’s top 33 (or if I did, it got lost along the way). In many ways, then, it’s really the 6/19 show that began the solidifying of the ritual/practice/obsession I’d carry with me for six-plus more years.

Rather than wait another couple of weeks to show you in a Charts post what I recorded on that Sunday evening from WSAI, here it is in all its battered, tattered glory:

The notation of circles for debuts, asterisks for risers, underscores for fallers, overscores for the songs staying put, and predictions for the following week had begun with the 6/5 chart–I guess I was ready for stats-keeping from the get-go, even if most of that disappeared by October. Note also that I’d fully internalized ‘notches’ already, as well.

What stands out to me now, though, are the errors wrought by a twelve-year-old listening to a possibly crackly AM signal.
–Well, the signal wasn’t responsible for getting the year wrong;
–Casey didn’t give the title for #40 before playing it. Apparently I made my best guess while Mike Love crooned and did my best to correct things on the outro;
–I believe the same thing happened with #37;
–This would have been the first time I heard “Turn the Beat Around.” Could not discern ‘Vicki Sue’ that day; you can see I ultimately settled on ‘Casey.’ I figured it out by the following week’s show;
–I considered myself a very good speller back in the day, but apparently ‘rhythm’ was befuddling;
–Apparently I hadn’t fully grasped the titles of the Eric Carmen and Doobie Brothers pieces, making the former into a semi-remake of the Bacharach/David classic and the latter sound even more like a call to action. ‘It’ got added on the 6/26 chart, while ‘Gonna’ had to wait until 7/10;
–And then there was the name of the band singing “The Boys Are Back in Town.” I’d gotten fooled by Casey’s pronunciation of ‘Thin’ two weeks earlier, and it’d be another month before it got corrected. Phil Lynott and company would climb as high as #12 before the end of July. It’s now one of my very favorites from those first months I was keeping close tabs on the ebb and flow of the chart performances of pop 45s, an almost perfect summer song. Who wants to head down with me to Dino’s?

(I covered some of this three years ago, when I posted pictures of my 6/26/76 chart.)

Charting Out Marches and Aprils of Yesteryear

Premiere went heavy on March shows from the Charting Years (TM pending), light on April. Like last time, there’s a one-of-a-kind chart amongst what I have to share, and it leads things off.

3/5/77
The basement at our house in Walton was divided into two. The “finished” half (on the left as you faced the house) wasn’t carpeted, but it got plenty of use over the years. On the back wall, to the left of a sliding glass door that led to the back yard, was a bed for company (primarily my Great Aunt Birdie). Along the front wall was Dad’s stereo system (turntable/receiver/reel-to-reel/speakers) as well as a couple of cabinets that housed his LPs; a couch faced the stereo, and we had a giant spiral woven rug on the floor in between (that rug is now in my office at school). My father kept an office area of sorts on the side wall, primarily a desk and a small, metal rolling table with drop leaves on which he kept an electric typewriter, a Smith-Corona with a dark green base. While I wouldn’t learn to type until the beginning of 1981, there were a couple of notable encounters with the machine prior to that. One was pulling an all-nighter on a research paper about Greek mathematicians for my geometry class in the spring of 1980; the other, as you can see, was the time I labored over an AT40.

Quirks galore, particularly going ALL CAPS sporadically (the misspelling of the last word in the title of Kansas’s hit, though, was a persistent error through more than half its chart run). I was fascinated by the typewriter back then; however, I suspect the amount of time I spent hunting-and-pecking on this one chart ensured the result was a one-off.

Hello/Goodbye: Enchantment and Deniece Williams each make their first appearance.

3/13/82
I believe it was the Saturday before this that I’d been crowned “Mr. FBLA” at our regional conference, which earned me the right to compete at the state level later in the spring (spoiler: it was a fait accompli that the state President would win there). Random memory: during the talent show at the regional, a couple of girls from another high school did a dance routine to #26 on this chart (which may have been the only time back then I heard it other than on the show).

Hello/Goodbye: First go-round for Prism. Last go-round for Chilliwack and Skyy.

Here are my thoughts at the time:

If one were to rank one’s favorite Air Supply songs, “Sweet Dreams” would be a strong contender for the top slot on my list. “Abacab” and “Love Is Alright Tonite” are long gone from the show, but I’ve got no issue whatsoever with them still hanging around.

3/21/81
We’re seeing more of the wave of tunes that rocked the spring of my junior year coming ashore: #34, #32, #15, and (my favorite now) #14; there’d be several more on the show within three weeks.

This is not the only time this month we’re going to see mention of Chris Montez.

Hello/Goodbye: “Lover Boy” bows in, while it’s sayonara to Tierra, Leo Sayer, and Delbert McClinton.

And you don’t get 1981 without having my tastes at the time foist upon you.

Cougar, April Wine, and Winwood are at #41, #40, and #26, respectively. They’d all be in the top 10 by early May.

3/25/78
When I heard #40 playing during the rebroadcast a few weeks ago, I immediately remembered that I’d misheard its title 43 years prior. I even saw this chart in my head, including the subsequent correction of “Imagine Every Lover.”

Hello/Goodbye: Nobody new; I’m not going to say this is it for Garfunkel, since he and Simon made the show with “Wake Up Little Susie” four years hence.

4/28/79
How did you spell Voudouris upon first hearing it? I didn’t get the second word of the Iron Horse song right in any of its three weeks on the show (it’s “Lui”).

The LDDs were touching and ridiculous, respectively, both from teenage males. The Manilow dedication was to a friend of the writer who’d been in a bad auto accident, had temporarily lost her sight, and was now shutting herself away from the world to prevent something similar from happening again. The other writer was angling to get Ladd to go to the prom with him.

Hello/Goodbye: Saying howdy to the first three acts on the show (put an asterisk on the three former Byrds if you wish). Waving bye-bye to Bell and James.

I don’t have a late April 1979 sheet from WKRQ, so something from earlier in the month will have to do. It does end a several-month gap in my collection; the previous one is from late November of 1978. This is one of the few I have that lists forty songs. It’s interesting to see a few songs that didn’t make AT40 here (Toto, Thorogood, Ronstadt, Clifford), but I have to wonder why they relegated the Village People, Sister Sledge, and the Jacksons to the Extras list.

That’s quite a mix of acts in town that month.

Jan/Feb Charts, With A Twist

As usual, a number of AT40s from the charting era got played these last couple of months. Here they are; there’s a one-of-a-kind among them.

1/19/80:
I must have had a peek at this week’s Hot 100 at Recordland in the Florence Mall, since those two Picks led off the following show.

Hello/Goodbye: Tom Johnston’s solo Top 40 career was super-brief, just two weeks long.

1/27/79:
I learned about many a tune from years past via AT40 Extras and Archived #1s. Sometimes, the impact was long-lasting. For instance, there is a direct line between hearing the song played right after “Somewhere in the Night” on this show and then six years later putting it on one of the tapes that indirectly led to starting this blog.

Hello/Goodbye: Nigel Olsson, come on down…

1/30/82:
In early 2013, Martha and I spent plenty of time clearing out her parents’ house to prepare it for sale. By the end of January, our efforts were largely concentrated in the basement, which over the decades had turned into a repository for everything they hadn’t wanted to discard (leaving it to us to address, of course). My re-connection with AT40 had begun the previous June, and I had recently learned how the TuneIn app could be used to listen to shows on stations around the world. One of my first go-to stations was KZOY, in Sioux Falls, SD (I still check them out occasionally). This show was the one playing that Saturday eight years ago we whiled away in the basement, organizing and tossing stuff–Casey played up the suspense about the new #1 pretty well.

Hello/Goodbye: Why yes, it’s the first appearance for Buckner and Garcia.

As for my rankings…well, I hadn’t quite gotten burned out on “Centerfold” yet.

2/4/78:
Thirteen weeks after I fell and broke my left wrist, I badly sprained my right one (time has dimmed the memory of what I did this time). It being a Saturday and all, I was suddenly desperate for assistance in writing down that week’s countdown. In stepped my mother.

I’m sure I coached her up on #27 and #21, at the least (the error on #37 slipped past me, though).

I look back on my youth and can see now how often my parents were there for my sister and me, supporting our interests as best they could. I can only hope I appreciated it enough at the time, and have paid it forward sufficiently with my son.

(I recovered pretty quickly, as you can tell from the way I was able to fill out the other stuff a few days later.)

Hello/Goodbye: LeBlanc and Carr finally come on board, in their 17th week on the chart. Debby Boone’s done all she can to state her case for being the biggest one-timer ever in the Top 40.

2/14/81:
I’d turned 17 the day before I wrote this down; can’t say I remember much about that weekend now at all. There are songs I still like here, but we’re a month or so away from the scene really beginning to turn much more to my satisfaction–“Living in a Fantasy” and “Ah! Leah!” are on the leading edge of that.

Hello/Goodbye: Nada this time.

On the personal ranking front: even if Andy Gibb was in the last throes of his solo career, “Time Is Time” has always been one of my favorites of his, certainly the best thing since “Shadow Dancing.”

2/23/80:
Five weeks since the 1980 chart above, and Captain and Tennille are still holding on at #2. You wonder sometimes how real those heart-tugging LDDs are, but I’ll cop to being moved when I heard the first one on this show a few weeks ago: a teen in Vermont thanking her community for raising money for a surgery needed after being in an accident.

Hello/Goodbye: We’re seeing the last of both Bonnie Pointer and Isaac Hayes.

November/December Charts of Yore

I’m in a pattern of putting these up after every two months’ worth of shows; why stop now?

11/15/80
For a fine blow-by-blow of this chart, you’ll want to check out Neck Pickup here. Just for the record, the missing LDD was “Love Will Keep Us Together.”

Hello/Goodbye: The first three songs on the show were by newbies.

As for my rankings, it’s great to see old pal Al Stewart on top. I’m disappointed in myself for not letting Boz get any higher than #13, though.

11/19/77
This comes from my lazy period, a couple of weeks after I’d broken my left wrist. It’s one of three lists on a single 8.5″ by 11″ sheet (the last three weeks of November are on it).

Hello/Goodbye: Player, High Inergy, and Bob Welch all bow in for the first time.

Next, a couple more of WKRQ’s lists. The 1977 chart is the second one in my collection; this may be just about been the time I began listening to them. Overall it feels like they’re a little behind the times–a lot of songs in the bottom half of the chart had already faded nationally. I hated that Kenny Loggins song back then. As for 1980, I’m not surprised to see the Stones so high, nor the Kansas and Seger cuts present.

And here are the backs. Don’t remember Bruce Ryan, but I doubt I was listening in the mornings in late 1977, anyway. Regarding the $1 million prize: Cincinnati radio had a huge promotion war in the second half of 1980. An upstart Top 40 station started it by giving away $500,000 to a listener in the late summer, followed by a like prize to a school. As you can tell, Q102’s owner upped the ante; hope Mary used the money wisely.

Bonus 1977 coverage! I re-discovered this putting this post together. It’s on the back side of the sheet with the above 1977 chart. I believe the correct chronological order is left-bottom-right, but don’t ask what the * and @ symbols mean, ’cause I don’t remember. Sorta like Q102, certain songs were hanging around for a loooong time: for instance, “Easy,” “Give a Little Bit,” and “Whatcha Gonna Do?” had been gone from AT40 for over a month by this point (I had all three 45s, though, and I’ll bet I played them a bunch). I guess maybe I’ve always been a chart maker…

Four more below the fold…

Continue reading “November/December Charts of Yore”

AT40’s Top 100 of 1984, Part 2

Here’s the second half of what I wrote down on the weekend of 12/29/84.

Only three peak position errors on this part of the show, and two involved Lionel Richie: #48 only reached 7, #40 made it to just 5, and #31 got to 3.

Even if I wasn’t right all the time about how high songs got, one thing that really stood out to me writing this chart down was how well year-end rank correlated overall with peak position, and how few non-Top 10 tunes even made the show. This was so different from what I’d seen in the late 70s, when songs that didn’t even crack the top 20 in real time could sneak onto the year’s Top 100, due to their longevity on the charts. According to this thread at one of the AT40 Fun & Games message boards, Casey’s staff had started using a ‘power point’ system in 1982, based only on top 50 performance (historically, Billboard used all of a song’s Hot 100 life–one need only also listen to the 1971 year-ender that Premiere provided to 70s affiliates this year to see that in action), awarding bonuses for weeks in the top 10 and big points for multiple weeks at the top. I also learned there that AT40 went back to using Billboard‘s rankings in 1985, which may explain in part why “Out of Touch,” “I Feel for You,” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” were so high at year’s end in both 1984 and 1985.

1980: My Top 100 (At The Time)

Regular readers are well aware that I kept a list of my own Top 50 for the better part of three years (from 3/29/80 to 12/25/82, to be precise). My primary rule was pretty simple: all songs on AT40 for the week prior had to be included (I usually made my chart very early in the week and relied on the show just broadcast for my baseline). That of course invariably led to a small lag. I pretty much modeled chart action on what I’d seen Billboard do all those years I’d been listening to Casey to that point: songs didn’t usually debut all that high, they’d climb fairly steadily, and would, with precious few exceptions, start to fall only after staying in the same spot for two (or more) weeks or maybe after rising just one position.

As 1980 drew to a close, it was natural to want to put together a Top 100 for the year based on my weekly rankings. The biggest issue was the incomplete data, a lack of information about almost a quarter of the year. What to do?

In the end, I wasn’t very scientific in constructing the year-end list. The Top 20 or so probably do reflect how I felt about the songs at the time; after that, it’s more impressionistic, crudely approximating where I thought things would shake out, informally incorporating peak position, length of chart run, and what I supposed January, February and March charts might have looked like. I think I was a little careful about discounting theoretical chart points for performance in 1979 by songs like “Escape,” “Better Love Next Time,” and “Cruisin’,” but that may be revisionist thinking on my part.

Anyway, without any further ado:

No doubt I’d make numerous changes to this forty years on, but many favorites then are still must-listens today. Oftentimes you like what you like, right?

I was much more rigorous in putting my 1981 Top 100 together; I’m planning on taking a look underneath the hood of that effort this time next year.

AT40’s Top 100 of 1984, Part 1

My chart for the 1984 year-ender follows the same straightforward format as that of the year before: three yellow legal sheets with rank, song, artist, and peak position. I’m pretty certain it was the only time I listened to Casey the entire year.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention to the ebb and flow of the charts. I went to record stores to check out their posted Hot 100 lists throughout my college years; that helped me with peak positions when Casey didn’t remind us. However, my memory was faulty several times by a spot or two: #97 only reached 14, #94 got to 12, #83 peaked at 10, #82 topped out at 9, #77 hit only 8, #72 reached 8, #66 finished at 7, #60 hit 4, #59 and #57 both had stopped at 5, and #55 made just #6.

The other half next weekend; hoping the number of mistakes will be smaller.

More September/October Charts

Between grappling with this hectic fall semester and deciding to play another Strat-o-Matic tourney these last three weeks, I’ve let putting up another Charts post slide down the priority list. It’s become time for me to get it together.

9/5/81
Another case where I missed the tail end of the show and used the Florence Mall Recordland as a backup. That third Archive song was “To Sir, with Love”–this, after Casey giving a career retrospective of Lulu in hour 2 before playing her current hit. It’s embarrassing I whiffed on both of Bobbie Gentry’s names.

Hello/Goodbye: Nobody bows in, but it’s never again for Point Blank, Robbie Patton, and John Schneider.

As for my rankings:

While 1981 has a (justified) soft rock/country-dominated reputation, I’ll defend my top 15 choices of the time, Oak Ridge Boys excepted. The song at #25 is one I’ve noted before, from Union, another Randy Bachman joint–it didn’t chart nationally.

9/25/76
This is during the six-week period that WSAI took Casey off the air. I woke up early on a few Sunday mornings to listen to WAKY out of Louisville (but not 6:00am early, apparently). I didn’t write down the Top 10, since I could get that out of the newspaper.

Hello/Goodbye: Didn’t know it at the time, but this week was the beginning for Firefall.

Continue reading “More September/October Charts”

Scads of July and August Charts

Catching up on the shows recently played on Premiere for which I have charts…

7/25/81
They last played this show three years ago, right after I started blogging (#37 was the song I featured, both praising and lamenting Steinman’s craft). Hadn’t started posting charts yet, though, so I get to right that wrong. Don’t know how quickly after I wrote this up that the grease stain appeared.

Hello/Goodbye: Even with just two debuts, there’s a newbie: it’s the first time on for Alabama. Eight songs fell off after this week, and half of the acts on the way out never appeared again: Carole Bayer Sager, A Taste of Honey, Climax Blues Band, and Rosanne Cash.

My sun-faded chart:

The Moodies start a four-week run at the top. “Bette Davis Eyes” is in the last of an eight-week stretch in the top three (only one of those had been at #1). Wish I’d ranked “Seven Year Ache” higher (it would peak at #16); it’s one of my absolute faves on this chart now.

7/29/78
Half of the sixteen songs that debuted on either 7/1 or 7/8 have moved into the top 20. Two of ’em are already top 10, but only three more would eventually join the Commodores and Pablo Cruise.

Hello/Goodbye: Last time I did a charts post, we bid adieu to the Village People. This time, it’s bon jour; we’re also seeing Chris Rea for the first time. On the flip side, that’s all for Love & Kisses.

8/6/77
How long did I try to draw an outline of the lower 48 at the top of the first page? I’d started the week prior. It lasted through the end of October; I guess my broken wrist on 11/5 is what sank the practice.

Hello/Goodbye: Both of the debuts come from cagey veterans. On the farewell side of things, we have Cat Stevens, Dean Friedman, and Hot.

Continue reading “Scads of July and August Charts”