Forty Years Ago This Week: WLS Music Survey - August 27, 1977 (Part One)

Elvis Presley left the building for the final time on Tuesday, August 16, 1977, with his most recent single "Way Down" slipping down the chart when news of The King's untimely demise broke.
WLS took a pass on "Way Down" and in truth, they hadn't given an Elvis Presley significant airplay since "Raised On Rock" made it into the stations Top 30 back in the Fall of 1973. Unlike many of my generation, I cannot recall with any certainty where I was when I heard the news that Elvis had died though I know the most interest I showed in his untimely passing was in May 1978 when our sixth-grade teacher was giving back all the items she had confiscated from us throughout the year. My copy of What If #1 ("What if Spider -Man had joined the Fantastic Four?") had been promptly snatched up when I brought it to school to show to friends so I was glad to get it back. After everyone in the class had claimed their personal property, there was still a few leftover items likely belonging to military dependents who had left school before the end of the year when their military parent was stationed elsewhere.
One of the orphaned items was a copy of the September 6, 1977, issue of the National Enquirer with what appeared to be a pic of Elvis lying at rest in a coffin. I still can't tell you why I raised my hand for it when no one else did and took it home and forgot about it and am assuming it soon found its way to the trash. That's my where were you and what did you do when you found out Elvis died story but that's not why we are gathered here today.
Because it looks like he was on the air too late at night for eleven-year-old me, I have no memory of ever hearing Steve King play the best music in Chicago on WLS where he worked from 1973-1978 before moving onto a talk radio station where he met his wife, Johnnie Putnam, a fellow show host. The two moved on to WGN independently of one another in 1984 (him) and 1985 (her) but soon paired-up on what would become the most popular overnight show in the market. In 2011, after more than 6,000 shows together, the couple left WGN though they continue working together to this day.
Can anyone confirm that the WLS surveys, like issues of a magazine, were post-dated? This week's survey is dated August 27, 1977, yet all the listed Concerts in the Weeks Ahead would have already happened by then.
The revamped Four Seasons had been touring non-stop since debuting with 1975's Who Loves You album and its three Top 40 singles, including the group's all-time biggest seller "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)". The follow-up LP Helicon was a stiff in 1977 and it would be almost a decade before the group released another studio album. Frankie Valli was battling otosclerosis (a form of hearing loss he later had surgically corrected) while simultaneously releasing solo records during this period featuring the members of the Four Seasons backing him. In another eight months, Valli would enter the studio to record what would become his biggest solo hit.
Much like the Four Seasons, Glen Campbell had a sizable back catalog of hits dating back to the Sixties and in 1977 he was still the Rhinestone Cowboy that had hit it big once again in 1975. The follow-up album Bloodline - Campbell's thirty-first! - continued his work with the Lambert/Potter production team but failed to catch on with the public in 1976. Southern Nights restored momentum to Campbell's stalled chart mojo in 1977 and his current single "Sunflower" sits at number 40 on this week's Forty-fives chart.
Jackson Browne had been on the WLS Forty-fives chart earlier in 1977 for a short time with "Here Comes Those Tears Again" from The Pretender and had begun recording his fifth album a week before his concert date at the Ravinia Festival. That album would become a unique live concept album entitled Running On Empty and remains Browne's best-selling album to date.
Helen Reddy was at number 5 on this week's Forty-fives chart with "You're My World" from her 1977 album Ear Candy notable for being produced by Kim Fowley who famously called Reddy "the queen of housewife rock". The song would prove to be her fourteenth and final Top 40 single on the Hot 100 as well as her ninth and final Top 20 single on WLS's Forty-fives chart.
Neil Diamond was conspicuously absent from both the WLS album and single charts in August 1977; last heard on the station with the nostalgic "If You Know What I Mean" a year prior. Earlier in 1977, he released the live double album Love At The Greek, recorded during an eight-night stand at the Greek Theatre in 1976 where he had recorded his previous live double album, the monumental Hot August Night, four years earlier. In a way, Diamond had documented the early part of his 1976-1977 World Tour on the former album and was now continuing to tour behind it though, like the Four Seasons and Glen Campbell, he had amassed a massive amount of material through the Sixties and early Seventies.

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