The Friday 5×2: 55 Years Ago On WLS Chicago

On September 29, 1962, Alouette I, a Canadian satellite and the first not made by either the USA or USSR, was launched into orbit, I was six years old and in first grade at St. Ignatius School, where Mother Irene Mary, SHCJ and Miss Disselhorst were busy whipping me into shape (particularly about my printing), brother Jimmy was in kindergarten, brother Kippy was stuck at home with Mrs. O’Boyle, who my mother hired because she had evidently watched children in castles in Ireland (from her demeanor, I’d say she watched them in the dungeon), and the following eleven songs (one was a double-sided single) were in the Top Ten of the Silver Dollar Survey issued by WLS 890 AM (“The Bright Sound In Chicago”). I couldn’t have cared less in 1962, but that would change rather quickly a year or so later, when my Aunt Cash gave me my first radio. By that time, these were all “golden oldies.”

#10: The Dovells, “Hully Gully Baby” Actually “(Baby) Hully Gully,” this was The Dovell’s cover of The Olympics’ 1960 record, which reached #72 and touched off the “Hully Gully” dance craze.
#9: Gene Pitney, “Only Love Can Break A Heart” Gene released this one after two successful movie themes, “Town Without Pity” (1961) and “(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance.”
#8: The Contours, “Do You Love Me?” Berry Gordy originally wanted The Temptations, who had no hit songs to this point, to record this, but when he couldn’t find them (they had left the studio and gone to a Detroit gospel festival) offered it to The Contours, and the rest was history.
#7: Nat King Cole, “Ramblin’ Rose” The Top 40 hadn’t totally been taken over by rock & roll in 1962, and Nat King Cole was still quite popular.
#6: Dickey Lee, “Patches” A rather morbid song, not to be confused with the song of the same name by Clarence Carter.
#5B: The Beach Boys, “409” The B side of the two-sided #5 entry, this song is credited with “initiating the hot rod music craze of the 1960’s”; so sayeth Wikipedia. No idea if the song was the inspiration for naming a once-popular cleaning product “Formula 409.”
#5A: The Beach Boys, “Surfin’ Safari” The A side, which I always heard was “Surfin’ Surfari.” It wasn’t, but it should have been. This was featured in the movie American Graffiti (“Where Were You In ’62?”).
#4: The Four Seasons, “Sherry” First of three straight #1 hits for Frankie Valli and the boys, on Gary, Indiana’s own Vee Jay Recoreds.
#3: Bobby “Boris” Pickett, “Monster Mash” This Hallowe’en classic had been on the survey for six weeks already by September 29, and would peak at #1 the week before Hallowe’en, falling to #4 the next week.
#2: Jimmy Clanton, “Venus In Blue Jeans” Jimmy’s last Top Ten single. Jimmy, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was dubbed “the swamp pop R&B teenage idol.”
#1: Chris Montez, “Let’s Dance” Chris isn’t exactly a one-hit wonder, having placed several songs in the Top 40 and having had some success on the Adult Contemporary chart, but this is the song everyone remembers.

My thanks, as always, to my friends at Oldiesloon for the survey data and to the people who posted these songs on YouTube. That’s The Friday 5×2 for September 29, 2017.

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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

26 thoughts on “The Friday 5×2: 55 Years Ago On WLS Chicago”

  1. Ok…I’m still dumbfounded that these songs are 55 years old. I don’t know the first one at all but I love that you included Monster Mash which I always loved. Have you found any water shoes? If you go into one of these places, I would ask if they can special order. My hubby did that at our place called Outdoors Oriented which they were very helpful.

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    1. I just pulled the songs from the survey, and “Monster Mash” just happened to be one of them. It’s a really great song.

      I wrote to Speedo, one of the purveyors of the shoes, and they said that their shoes are very stretchy and even if the width is marked D, they should fit. We’ll see about that; I ordered a couple of pair that will get here next week sometime. If they fit, great, if not, I’ll keep looking.

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  2. This was right before I was born, but the songs “Sherry” and “Monster Mash” were still played a lot on the radio in south Arkansas during my grade school years; “Sherry” I vividly remember from watching “Bozo the Clown.”

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    1. The Four Seasons were big sellers in the Sixties, and their songs were on the radio a lot even when they weren’t current hits. Being from Chicago, Bozo was a big thing for us; I’d love to see the Southern Arkansas version…

      “Monster Mash” gets hauled out of the vault every October and generates a lot of excitement.

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      1. Yes, like the horror movies that TCM pulls out every Halloween (not that I seem to watch TV much these days).

        Being on “Bozo the Clown” was a highlight of my early elementary years (public school in a town that was large by South Arkansas standards). I don’t remember the name of the classmate who graciously invited our whole class, but I do remember getting picked to do a challenge (a puzzle) and winning a prize. But being on TV was the big thing about Bozo (not that you could see yourself on TV).

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        1. We cut the cord a few years ago, so we no longer get TCM or any of the other cable or satellite channels, but it’s surprising what you can get with an antenna. Many of the local stations have subchannels and there’s all kinds of good stuff there. There are several movie channels I receive, though I’m not much of a movie guy anymore.

          A friend of mine was on “Bozo,” and during the summer they re-ran the show he was on, giving him an opportunity to see himself. I think he said he wishes he hadn’t…

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    1. “Monster Mash” is really more a Dr. Demento type song, a funny novelty record. I had never heard “Patches” before yesterday, when I put the list together, and really didn’t like it. I mean, a song about a kid who wantys to commit suicide because his girlfriend was killed? Yeesh…

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    1. I think I explained once that the reason I do the survey posts is so the songs don’t get forgotten. Most oldies radio stations will play most, but not all the songs from a given survey. Those songs that fall through the cracks should be heard again. Hey, if they were top ten hits in one of the largest markets in the US, they deserve to be remembered.

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    1. “Patches” was definitely a downer. The one by Clarence Carter was sad, but uplifting, about a kid who faced a lot of adversity in life and managed to come through it all. And yes, the other songs in the list were great.

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