6/8/18

WLS Music Survey - June 10, 1978 (Part Two: The Forty-fives)

The WLS street sheet dated June 10, 1978, is proudly sponsored by Jaws 2. For those of you who don't know, the original Jaws has always been the scariest movie I have ever seen and I had less than zero interest in any sequels though I did finally sit through all three super lame Jaws follow-ups one sunny Summer day in 1997. I find it funny that the studio felt the need to put ALL NEW prominently on the movie poster as if 1978 films had a habit of recycling old Keystone Cops footage or something. Fun Fact: For a few months, Jaws 2 was the highest-grossing ALL NEW sequel of ALL-TIME. Then Rocky II was released in June 1979.
At first glance, there are five singles on the Forty-fives chart that I have no memory of, so my first mission was to pull up those songs and listen and see if they came back to me. Those five singles are pictured above and other than "Take Me To The Next Phase" sounding like every other Isley Brothers track of the Seventies for better or worse, none of the tracks jogged any memories. How about you?
Three of my all-time favorites make their debut on this week's list of Forty-fives. Donna Summer's Academy and Grammy Award-winning single from the five-sided Thank God It's Friday soundtrack, "Last Dance" would eventually peak at number 4 on the WLS survey. The Steve Martin and the Toot Uncommons single "King Tut" (eventually #1 on WLS) came out the Summer after the boy king's traveling treasures were on exhibit at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, where I was fortunate enough to have seen them on a rare family excursion to Chicago from our home in downstate Rantoul. It remains one of the most glorious spectacles I have had the privilege of seeing in person. Then and now, I immediately think of Sherlock Holmes when the intro to "Baker Street" starts and it always makes me smile. Gerry Rafferty's song peaked at number 4 on the station's list of 45s and I'll never forget when Dad brought the City To City album home and dropped the needle on the second cut ("Baker Street" for the uninitiated) and just cranked the volume. I came running down to the basement from my room on the second floor and just stood there in awe of the sound while Dad may have thought only he was listening as he had his headphones on, his eyes were closed and his head was tilted back at a slight angle but he had forgotten to flip the speakers off switch for private listening.
There are five duets on the countdown this week, including 3 of the Top 6 songs: number 40 is "We'll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again" from England Dan and John Ford Coley; number 14 is Peter Brown with Special Background Vocals by Betty Wright on "Dance With Me" but I'm still counting it as a duet; Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway are at number 6 with "Closer I Get To You" (sic); number 3 for a second week is John Travolta (Danny) and Olivia Newton-John (Sandy) with "You're The One That I Want" and Johnny Mathis pairs up with Deniece Williams at number 2 with the bittersweet "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late".
Three acts have two singles each on the list of 45s, the first of which is Heatwave. Up one position to number 39 after peaking at number 19 back in March is "Always and Forever", a song hailed as the greatest slow jam of all time. It's interesting to note that Heatwave's first Forty-fives chart hit was "Boogie Nights" which peaked at Number One in a 23-week run. "Always and Forever" also spent 23 weeks on the Forty-fives chart as did "Groove Line" (sic) which would peak at number 6 the following week after spending this week at number 11.
Andy Gibb also has two singles on the chart: "(Love Is) Thicker Than Water" down at number 42 on its 23rd and final week on the chart after peaking at number 2 way back in March. And, rising one spot to the top spot, is "Shadow Dancing". This monster single would spend an additional 5 weeks atop the Forty-fives list before being displaced by "King Tut", which ruled the chart for 4 consecutive weeks.
Gibb's big brothers were the remaining act with two singles on the Forty-fives chart, with both of their songs landing in the top third of the chart. "Stayin' Alive" was down to number 15 after peaking at Number One in February in what would turn out to be an incredible 31-week chart run. The Brothers Gibb were holding down the number 4 spot for the second week in a row with "Night Fever" after topping the chart in May, giving the Bee Gees their third Number One in a row on WLS's list.

For those of us who picked up "Stayin' Alive" on 45, there was an interesting surprise on the B-side, the brothers' original version of "If I Can't Have You". Yvonne Elliman's superior take on the track was wisely included on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and falls two this week to number 20, giving Barry Gibb five songwriting credits on the Forty-fives list. Make that six with Samantha Sang's "Emotion" written by Barry and Robin Gibb while brother Maurice joins his siblings on backup vocals leading many to mistake the number 16 song as yet another Bee Gees tune. The Bee Gees eventually recorded their own version of the song in 1994 but like "If I Can't Have You", having another act record and release it proved to be best for fans like me.

My single of the week is Parliament's "Flashlight" (sic) which peaked three weeks earlier at number 3 and was down to number 7 this week. The single stalled at number 16 on the Hot 100 despite topping the R&B chart for three weeks and was but one of a parade of Number One R&B tracks from 1978 that rocked my world. It just may have been the funkiest track WLS played in the Seventies. At least until they played "One Nation Under A Groove" about three months later.

~1045~

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