The Friday 5×2: Top Ten Records in Chicago for 1968

I had built this playlist a couple of weeks ago, thinking I’d use it on New Year’s, then decided not to use it. So, let’s give it a listen today.

On January 1, 1969, WLS Radio in Chicago released their year-end survey for 1968, also known as “The Big 89 for 1968.” Here are the top ten songs from that survey.

  1. The Rolling Stones, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” It’s hard to believe that this song is over 50 years old. Nationally, this only made it to #50 for the year.
  2. The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, “Fire” It doesn’t surprise me this was #9 for the year. Nationally, it only reached #39.
  3. Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” This is amazing: this song only got to #88 on the Hot 100 for the year. It’s a Motown classic and has been covered many times. What can I say?
  4. Mary Hopkin, “Those Were The Days” Mary Hopkin was one of the first artists to record on The Beatles’ Apple Records, and I’ve heard some accounts that say she was the first act that wasn’t The Beatles. A cover of Paul McCartney’s song from the *Magical Mystery Tour* album. Only reached #30 nationally.
  5. Ohio Express, “Yummy Yummy Yummy” Bubblegum music did quite well in Chicago, much to everyone’s chagrin, and this was one of the first songs of the genre. Nationally, it reached #38.
  6. Herb Alpert, “This Guy’s In Love With You” Nationally, this reached #7, so we weren’t entirely crazy.
  7. Jeannie C. Riley, “Harper Valley PTA” Country songs were still making it on pop radio in 1968, and this song inspired a 1978 movie and a 1981 TV series, both of which starred the lovely Barbara Eden. Nationally it rose to #11 for the year.
  8. Bobby Goldsboro, “Honey” A bit sappy, but I liked it and could play it on the guitar. Wasn’t until many years later I realized it was about suicide. This was also the #3 song nationally.
  9. Paul Mauriat, “Love Is Blue” This was a huge hit for M. Mauriat and remains a beautiful song. There was only one record that did better than it, both in Chicago and nationally, and it was…
  10. The Beatles, “Hey Jude/Revolution” In Chicago, this was a two-sided single where both sides were considered to reach #1. Nationally, “Hey Jude” topped the list while “Revolution” only made it to #78. Nevertheless, because I prefer “Revolution,” that’s what’s in the playlist. You can find “Hey Jude” here.

And that’s the Friday 5×2 for January 12, 2018.


Top Ten From WCFL, June 20, 1968

I had no luck with any of the prompts from Mama Kat this week, amnd thought, it’s been a while since I did a Thursday Ten… This just leapt out of my Facebook feed (where I always go when I’m really stuck for a topic). The person who posted it said that it was what we were listening to on this date in 1968, but the actual survey date is June 20, which was the Thursday of that week, making June 16 the Sunday… well, whatever. What I can tell you is this was Mom’s last week of school that year, which meant one week until she was around to supervise us (or, to put it another way, our last week of total anarchy, at least until 3:30 PM when she got home, that year).

Anyway, here’s the Top Ten from WCFL that week.



#10: Master Jack – 4 Jacks and a Jill This was headed back down the chart this week; it had been #8 the week before.

#9: How’d We Ever Get This Way – Andy Kim Its second week at #9.

#8: Like To Get To Know You – Spanky and Our Gang A semi-psychedelic tune from Chicago’s Spanky and Our Gang. (The other half of the semi was “easy listening.”) Down from #6 the week before.

#7: Macarthur Park – Richard Harris Who else thinks of Dave Thomas doing his impression of Richard Harris on “Mel’s Rock Pile” on SCTV? Here it is, in all its seven-minute glory. This was up from #10 the week before.

#6: Reach Out Of The Darkness – Friend & Lover One of those “peace, love, and understanding” songs from the late Sixties. I remember watching a White Sox doubleheader, and Friend & Lover appeared between games. You could hear them wailing this one during the interview. Thankfully, WFLD cut to a Meister Brau commercial halfway through. Down from #4 this week.

#5: Angel In The Morning – Merrilee Rush Up from #7 this week, a beautiful tune by a lovely singer. I was at the first Summerfest in Milwaukee, and saw a comedy duo singing this song. When they got to the line “Just touch my cheeks before you leave,” one of them grabbed his rear end, and it changed how I heard this song forever.

#4: I Love You – People This is the “long” version, with a full minute of psychedelia leading into the tune. Most radio stations cut that minute out because the song was “too long,” but for some reason they played all seven minutes of “Macarthur Park.” Up from #5 the week before.

#3: Yummy, Yummy, Yummy – The Ohio Express Most of us could have gone the rest of our lives without hearing this one again, but it was still high on the charts in Chicago this week. It was down from #2.

#2: Mrs. Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel S&G were a veritable hit machine in the late Sixties, and this was helped by the popularity of The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft. This swapped places with “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” this week.

#1: This Guy’s In Love With You – Herb Alpert Herb Alpert was a force to be reckoned with. This was its second week at #1; it stayed at #1 until July 11, when it was knocked all the way to #5 by “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones, which wasn’t even on the survey this week.

Hope you enjoyed this look back into what we were listening to in the late Sixties. Did I play your favorite song from the period?

That’s the Thursday Ten for June 16, 2016.