Forty Years Ago This Week: WLS Music Survey - March 19, 1977

I turned four in April 1970 and my family was living in Dover, Delaware, where Dad was stationed at Dover Air Force Base in between tours over in Vietnam. I was in all-day pre-school at The Little Red Schoolhouse and other than not liking the orange slices we were served daily as after nap snacks, my report card indicates I was a + (as opposed to a or a -) in all educational and social metrics. While I never did take a liking to oranges, I think if I were to be graded today on those same metrics, I would garner fewer +'s and lean more towards the or - side of the scale. If I was grading the Top 10 at the top of this post, I'd give it a +++, which is a pretty high rating for a Top 10 pop chart in case you were wondering. Have a listen below:

We are gathered here today not to discuss the merits of the Hit Parade of 1970 but the Forty-five biggest hits of the week ending March 19, 1977, according to the mighty WLS Musicradio 89. But first, let's look at a couple of other areas of that week's survey.
Yvonne Daniels, who I recall being the only female jock on the station, reigned as the Jock Of The Week but I do not recall ever hearing her on air. According to the survey, her shift was 2AM-5:30AM, which accounts for me never having heard her... unless she was covering an earlier shift. A quick Google search shows Daniels is known as "The First Lady Of Chicago Radio" and is a member of the National Radio Hall Of Fame. She passed in 1991 at the way-too-young age of 54.
The Concerts in the Weeks Ahead section is kind of lame from forty years later though I've been told by my Aunt Linda that seeing Jethro Tull live in the Seventies, especially touring behind her favorite album of theirs (Songs From The Wood) was worth any price so they must have been a bargain at the average ticket price of between a Lincoln and a Hamilton back in March 1977. Though none of these shows were reported to Billboard's Box Office chart - in the four weeks worth of charts I scanned, there were no Chicago area venues listed - it is easy to see what the going rate was and who was opening for whom. My favorite tour double-bill, based solely on the names of the acts, is Bread and their opening act, Jelly, a one-and-done-album act which featured actress, Amy Madigan.
Checking in with setlist.fm for other gigs in the area at the time not listed by WLS, I found The Marshall Tucker Band at the Aragon Ballroom on March 11th, with Peter Gabriel appearing the same night at the Uptown Theater touring behind his first solo album since walking away from Genesis. Utopia played the Uptown on March 18th while The Winter Brothers and The Charlie Daniels Band hit the Aragon on the 19th.
Three acts each have a pair of albums on the Thirty-threes chart: Barry Manilow, Eagles, and Kiss. Other than Jethro Tull jumping up a dozen spots from 30 to 18 in anticipation of his two concerts, the albums chart is fairly stagnant with only two other albums moving more than four positions. The charted album I'm featuring this week is the oldest album on the survey, coming in at number 32, the 1974 Beach Boys compilation Endless Summer, one of my all-time favorite albums.
This week's WLS Survey features lyrics to two songs on the reverse: "Year Of The Cat" (number 3 on the Forty-fives chart) and "Go Your Own Way" (number 10) and is sponsored this week by Tru:Test Paints from True Value Hardware Stores.
The highest moving single is Thelma Houston's disco anthem "Don't Leave Me This Way", moving up fifteen spots from number 39 to number 24. (Raise your hand if you think it is going to be a Number One song real soon.) Elton John's "Bite Your Lip (Get Up And Dance)" tumbles down fourteen spots from 28 to 42 and should be off the chart next week but I ain't peeking.
The three singles pictured above debuted on the survey and will all eventually end up in the Top 10, with Leo Sayer's "When I Need You" going all the way to Number One. A total of fourteen of the 45s on this week's Forty-fives chart, most of which I still own to this day, would end up among the 100 songs that make up My Favorite Songs from 1977 and one of those songs even makes the Top 10 on my countdown. That exclusive list will soon be released, ten songs at a time over the course of ten consecutive weeks. Until then, let's see how the WLS Forty-fives chart compares with other singles charts from March 19, 1977.

45Right Time Of The NightJennifer Warnes252447
44Dreamboat AnnieHeart
43DedicationBay City Rollers6270
42Bite Your Lip (Get Up And Dance)Elton John524851
41When I Need YouLeo Sayer4643601122
40SamOlivia Newton-John243644
38Hotel CaliforniaEagles192886
37I've Got Love On My MindNatalie Cole142029
36Walk This WayAerosmith414390
35Nadia's ThemeDeVorzon & Botkin
34You Make Me Feel Like DancingLeo Sayer635046
33Here Come Those Tears AgainJackson Browne23222693
32I WishStevie Wonder414030
31Do YaElectric Light Orchestra281825
30Lost Without Your LoveBread383430
29Boogie ChildBee Gees12299
28The First Cut Is The DeepestRod Stewart291928
27FreeDeniece Williams302140
26So Into YouAtlanta Rhythm Section161424
25Don't Give Up On UsDavid Soul85143318
24Don't Leave Me This WayThelma Houston961136
23Say You'll Stay Until TomorrowTom Jones171618
22Enjoy YourselfThe Jacksons363720
21Blinded By The LightManfred Mann's Earth Band18352373
20I Like Dreamin'Kenny Nolan69544
19Car WashRose Royce53583219
18Maybe I'm AmazedWings131317
17Weekend In New EnglandBarry Manilow313433
16New Kid In TownEagles27311524
15Crackerbox PalaceGeorge Harrison201719
14Rich GirlDaryl Hall & John Oates3310
13After The LovingEngelbert Humperdinck13
12Long TimeBoston221212
11Hard Luck WomanKiss503983
10Go Your Own WayFleetwood Mac10231627
9Dancing QueenABBA544
8Fly Like An EagleSteve Miller2152
7Hot LineThe Sylvers57643529
6Night MovesBob Seger411778
5The Things We Do For Love10cc11866
4Torn Between Two LoversMary MacGregor721361
3Year Of The CatAl Stewart2610336
2Carry On Wayward SonKansas1578
1Star Is Born (Evergreen)Barbra Streisand11160
First off, we have complete and total accord across four charts and two countries that Barbra Streisand unilaterally had the Number One song in all of North America for the week. Secondly, welcome Australia charts courtesy of Grant Dawe's site Top 100 Singles, where he has been painstakingly entering ARIA and AMR chart info as well as his own lists of his favorite songs. Highly recommended! Third, what the heck UK charts? Granted, the info was gleaned from a Top 50 chart rather than a 100 position chart but still. Harsh!
And jb's theory that WLS listed their recurrent singles on their Forty-fives chart gathers further credence this week with "Dreamboat Annie", "Nadia's Theme" and "After The Lovin'" all failing to appear on the other charts. Well, the latter song did make the Australian chart, coincidentally at the same exact position, but it is absent from the Billboard, Cashbox, Canadian and even the UK charts but then again most of the Forty-fives chart is missing from the UK chart. Let's meet up again in April to discuss another WLS Survey from 1977. I wonder what color paper and ink that chart is going to be?


  1. Sweet mama this is fantastic. Thank you for the effort, sir.

  2. Excellent analysis on this one. I clearly remember the Streisand record getting a ton of airplay (and, being eight, hating it).