The Friday 5×2: WSBC 1240 AM Chicago, October 16, 1948

I’m writing this yesterday (well, Thursday for Friday). Instead of choosing a survey from today, I’ll be sharing ARSA’s oldest survey, that of radio station WSBC from Chicago all the way back on October 16, 1948, six years to the day before my parents got married.

Why did I choose this one? First, as I mentioned, it’s the oldest actual survey at ARSA. There’s an older one that just appears to be a list of songs that the station plays. Second, until 1998, WSBC (the call letters stand for “World Storage Battery Company,” the original owners of the station) shared the frequency with two other stations, WCRW and WEDC. (When I was in high school, WEDC played Latin music after midnight on Sundays (i.e. early Monday morning), when WCFL was off the air and WLS aired a very dull talk show.) All three stations were brokered; that is, they sold blocks of time to various ethnic and other groups, and WSBC has continued to do so. According to their web page, “AM-1240 presently offers air-time to more than 40 different programmers and has a line-up that includes Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Italian, Latvian, Hindi, Urdu, Irish, English, and other ethnic, religious, and niche programming.” They also have a Facebook page.

In 1929, WSBC hired the nation’s first African-American disk jockey, Jack Cooper. He’s the person who compiled this Top 10 list. Note that there are only 9 songs in the playlist. I’ll explain more when I get there.

  1. Floyd Smith Combo, “Floyd’s Guitar Blues” Supposedly, this is the first hit record to feature a blues guitar solo. Sounds like he’s doing it on slide guitar or maybe a lap steel.
  2. Fat Man Hamilton, “House Rent Blues” This looks like it was the only record Fat Man recorded. Wasn’t able to find anything else about him.
  3. Billy Eckstine, “Blue Moon” Possibly the best-known of any of the artists featured here. He’s accompanied by Hugo Winterhalter and His Orchestra.
  4. Lonnie Johnson, “Tomorrow Night” Johnson was a singer and guitarist who also played the violin, and might have been the first person to have amplified the violin. This was a big record for him, which topped the Billboard Race Records chart for 6 weeks and was #19 on the Pop chart.
  5. Memphis Slim, “Cheatin’ Around” An early name in Chicago blues, he’s better known for a song he wrote called “Nobody Loves Me,” which has been rechristened “Every Day I’ve Got The Blues” and recorded many times, most notably by B. B. King.
  6. Marion Abernathy, “Honey, Honey, Honey” Wasn’t able to find much on Marion. AllMusic tells us she was advertised as “The Blues Woman” in Los Angeles and that she did the majority of her recording from 1945-1948, then never went back into the studio until 1961.
  7. T. S. Mims Combo, “T. S. Jumps” This was the song I couldn’t find on YouTube or anywhere else. I did find this list of songs on Chicago’s Hy-Tone Records label, where it was the A side of record #35 (the B side was “Dreamy Days” with vocals by Dorothy Washington). It appears to have been their only record.
  8. The Ravens, “Bye Bye Baby Blues” The Ravens were a very successful vocal quartet who had a few hits in the late ’40’s and early ’50’s, and who were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.
  9. Nellie Lutcher and Her Rhythm, “Chi-Chi-Chicago” Nellie was an R&B and jazz singer and pianist who Nina Simone credits as an influence. Her trademark was her perfect diction. She was a friend of Nat “King” Cole and sang with him on a few records.
  10. Sunnyland Slim, “Jivin’ Boogie” A big name in Chicago blues, he played piano with some of the biggest stars, including Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

And that’s the Friday 5×2 for July 20, 2018.


The Friday 5×2: WDLB, Marshfield, Wisconsin on this day in 1968

Let’s move back to the US and look in on WDLB, “Wisconsin’s Dairy Land Broadcasting,” still on the air at AM 1450 kHz. Wikipedia says that currently they do local programming in the morning and early afternoon hours and a syndicated Oldies format from Westwood One the rest of the day.

I’ve actually been to Marshfield, having done work at St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1992; I know this because while I was there Paul Molitor signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, putting all Milwaukee Brewers fans (including the guy I was working with) in a funk. That was the year I bought a bunch of knitting books from Schoolhouse Press (run by knitting legend Elizabeth Zimmermann) for Mary, and when they arrived, the box was stuffed with the Marshfield newspaper.

Anyway, here’s their Top 10 from 50 years ago today.

  1. The Doors, “Hello, I Love You” There’s a picture of the survey on the ARSA page, which tells us that this song jumped all the way from #40 the week before. Wow.
  2. Herb Alpert, “This Guy’s In Love With You” A little easy listening to break up all the long-haired hippie freak music, this was down from #5 the week before.
  3. New Colony Six, “Can’t You See Me Crying” Chicago’s favorite sextet jumps a whole position from #9.
  4. The 5th Dimension, “Stoned Soul Picnic” A great song by Laura Nyro sung by this talented quintet, who interpreted Ms. Nyro’s music better than anyone, was up from #10 the week before.
  5. The Vogues, “Turn Around, Look At Me” For the longest time, I thought The Vogues were British, maybe because “Five O’Clock World” came out around the peak of the British Invasion, but no, they’re from Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh. This beauty of a song bounced into the Top 10 from #17 the week before.
  6. Cliff Nobles & Co., “The Horse” Moving up from #6 was this fun instrumental that consisted mostly of some guy playing the same two chords over and over, with occasional interludes from a rockin’ horn section. I love it.
  7. Merrilee Rush, “Angel Of The Morning” eViL pOp TaRt, who writes a great blog that you should read like I do, did a recent Battle of the Bands (not the same BotB that we do, although I invited her to join us) using this song. This was starting its descent from #1, where it had been the week before.
  8. The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” Continuing its ascent up the charts from #7 is this classic from Mick and the boys.
  9. The Cowsills, “Indian Lake” Before The Partridge Family, there were The Cowsills, who did a couple of good songs, this one included. Up from #3.
  10. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, “Lady Willpower” Gary and the boys from Union Gap, Washington reached the top spot this week, up from #2.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for July 13, 2018.

The Friday 5×2: From KGFJ (AM 1230 Los Angeles) on July 6, 1980

Thought we’d do something different today. My friends at ARSA suggested a survey from KGFJ in Los Angeles, California, which played R&B from the late 1950’s until about 1997. Wikipedia tells us that they went on the air in 1923 and was one of the first stations to adopt a 24-hour format. They are now KYPA, a Korean-language station. Here’s their Top 10 from this date in 1980. All factoids are from Wikipedia.

  1. Stephanie Mills, “Sweet Sensation” Stephanie was the original Dorothy in The Wiz on Broadway, and for many years the song “Home” from that show was her signature tune. In the ’80’s she had a string of hits on the R&B chart. This was the title track from her 1980 album and reached #3 on the national R&B chart.
  2. Jermaine Jackson, “Let’s Get Serious” Jermaine was the second lead singer and bass player for The Jackson Five and had a solo career around the same time his brother Michael did. This song reached #1 on the R&B chart and went to #9 on the Hot 100.
  3. Brass Construction, “Get Up To Get Down” Brass Construction was a band out of Brooklyn that had a string of hits from the late ’60’s to 1985. It was from their 1980 album Brass Construction 5, but I couldn’t find any information on national chart performance.
  4. Cameo, “Shake Your Pants” Originally known as The New York City Players, they changed their name to Cameo to avoid being confused with The Ohio Players. From their 1980 album Cameosis (which reached #1 on the R&B albums chart), this song reached #8 on the R&B chart and #57 on the Dance chart.
  5. Gladys Knight & The Pips, “Landlord” Gladys and the Pips take it downtempo with this, from their 1980 album About Love. It reached #3 on the R&B chart nationwide.
  6. Teena Marie, “Behind The Groove” A protegee of Rick James and dubbed “The Ivory Queen of Soul,” this is the lead track from her 1980 album Lady T. It only reached #21 on the R&B chart nationally, but #3 on the Dance chart.
  7. S. O. S. Band, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)” The SOS Band (SOS stands for “Sounds of Success”) is from Atlanta and were originally named Santa Monica. This was their first single, and arguably most popular, reaching #1 on the R&B and Dance charts and #3 on the Hot 100 and was certified Platinum.
  8. Stacy Lattisaw, “Dynamite!” 13-year-old Stacy recorded her first album, Young And In Love, in 1979. Her original producer was Van McCoy (“The Hustle”), but she found the most success with Narada Michael Walden. This is from her second album, 1980’s Let Me Be Your Angel, and reached #1 on the Disco chart and #8 on the R&B chart.
  9. Gene Chandler, “Rainbow ’80” The Duke of Earl himself, Gene is a member of the Grammy Hall of Fame and R&B Hall of Fame and is noted for having hits in doo-wop, R&B, soul and disco, charting on either the Pop or R&B charts some 40 times between 1961 and 1987. Chicago, his hometown, renamed 59th Street between Racine and May for him in 2016. No information on the chart performance of this nationwide.
  10. Larry Graham, “One In A Million You” Larry is the former bass player for Sly & The Family Stone and founder of Graham Central Station, and is credited with developing the slap-bass style (“thumpin’ and pluckin'”). He had a huge hit with this downtempo song, the title track from his 1980 album, reaching #1 on the R&B chart and #8 on the Hot 100 that year.

And there’s your Friday 5×2 for July 6, 2018.

The Friday 5×2: Top Ten from Radio Veronica, 6/29/68

Today, ARSA suggested the survey from Radio Veronica, which operated from a ship called the Borkum Riff (also a brand of pipe tobacco) off the coast of the Dutch town of Hilversum, the media center of The Netherlands. It has an interesting history, which you can read on Wikipedia. You’ll recognize some of these songs, from their June 29, 1968 survey (fifty years ago today), I’m sure, and others will be just as much a surprise to you as they were to me. In the event you have trouble with playing this playlist here, try listening over on YouTube.

  1. Sir Henry & His Butlers, “Camp” This was a Danish band fronted by Ole “Sir Henry” Bredahl, best known for the song “Let’s Go.”
  2. Simon & Garfunkel, “Mrs. Robinson” From the 1967 film The Graduate, which was really popular, a good thing for S&G.
  3. Bobby Goldsboro, “Honey” There’s a debate going on over on this song’s page about whether Honey died of natural causes or by her own hand. The more I listen to it, the more I think it was the latter. What about you?
  4. The Easybeats, “Hello, How Are You” The Easybeats’ big international hit (and the only one to reach the Top 40 in the US) was “Friday On My Mind” from a couple of years earlier. This Australian band featured George Young, the brother of Angus and Malcolm of AC/DC, on guitar.
  5. Small Faces, “Lazy Sunday” These diminutive rockers had a big international hit with “Itchycoo Park” the previous year. This was a Top 10 hit for them in the UK, Australia, Germany, and The Netherlands, but failed to reacdh the Hot 100 in the US.
  6. John Rowles, “If I Only Had The Time” From Whakatane, New Zealand, this was Sir John’s biggest hit in the UK (#3) and The Netherlands (#2).
  7. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, “Young Girl” Gary and the boys, from Union Gap, Washington, had an international hit with this song.
  8. Blue Cheer, “Summertime Blues” Maybe my favorite cover of Eddie Cochran’s 1958 hit, it went to #1 on the Dutch Singles chart.
  9. The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” Rolling Stone magazine called this “supernatural Delta blues by way of swinging London,” it’s hard to believe this song is 50 years old.
  10. Heintje, “Ich Bau’ Dir Ein Schloß” I saw the name and thought it looked familiar. We heard from Heinje back when we did the survey from South Africa a couple of weeks ago. Heintje was not quite 13 when this record was released.

And that’s the Friday 5×2 for June 29, 2018.

The Friday 5×2: Top 10 from 4BC, Brisbane QLD, 6-17-62

We’re headed back Down Under for this week’s Top 10 post. Radio station 4BC in Brisbane is currently a news-talk station, broadcasting at 1116 kHz, but back in the Sixties, it was a Top 40 station at 1120 kHz. Here is the Top 10 from “Queensland’s Authentic Survey of Hit Tunes for the week commencing on 17 June 1962.” Survey courtesy of ARSA.

  1. Frankie Davidson, “Have You Ever Been To See King’s Cross?” About all I can find about Frankie is that he’s an Australian actor and singer who had a number of novelty hits in the ’60’s such as “Hector The Trash Collector,” “I Hope Your Chooks Turn Into Emus,” and a cover of The Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding.”
  2. Acker Bilk, “Stranger On The Shore” This was a huge record for Acker Bilk in 1962, spending almost a full year on the chart in the UK and being the first #1 in the US from the UK since the start of the Hot 100.
  3. Jerry Butler, “Moon River” We did crossovers the other week on M4, and here’s another example. The Iceman only reached #11 in the US on the Hot 100, but got to #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Kind of sounds like Andy Williams here.
  4. Walter Brennan, “Old Rivers” Walter sounded Western or Southern, but he was born in Massachusetts. He recorded a few songs over the years. Okay, he didn’t actually sing them, but read them in his Amos McCoy voice. This was the the most popular, reaching #$5 on the Hot 100 and doing well internationally.
  5. Ray Charles, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” As I mentioned in my list of crossover songs, Ray tried his hand at country music in 1962 and proved just as popular in that genre. This topped the Hot 100, R&B and Adult Contemporary charts in 1962 in the US and did well in the rest of the world.
  6. Col Joye with The Joy Boys, “Today’s Teardrops” “Col” isn’t an abbreviation for “Colonel” here, his real name was Colin Frederick Jacobsen. He was the first Australian singer to have a nationwide hit. In 1990, he was helping a neighbor with some tree work, slipped and fell almost 20 feet, but by 1998 he was back performing.
  7. The Shadows, “Wonderful Land” The UK’s Hank Marvin and The Shadows were quite popular in Europe and most of the rest of the world, but never made the charts in the US. This was a #1 in the UK and #2 in Australia.
  8. Lucky Starr, “I’ve Been Everywhere” This was Lucky Starr’s (real name: Leslie Morrison) best-selling single. It was written by Australian singer Geoff Mack and rewritten for the US, the UK, New Zealand, and, I swear, there’s one for India. As a bonus, here’s a link to Lucky and Frankie Davidson singing it.
  9. Larry Finnegan, “Dear One” American singer Larry Finnegan (real name John Lawrence Finneran) had one hit, this one, that went to #11 in the US and #1 in Australia. He died of a brain tumor in 1973 at the age of 34.
  10. Rob E. G., “Si, Señor (I Theenk)” I saw the name, and thought it looked familiar: he made another survey I covered a few weeks ago. Robie Porter, better known as Rob E. G., had a few hits in Australia, including this one, which reached #1.

And that’s your Friday 5×2 for June 22, 2018.