WLS Music Survey - June 19, 1976 (Part Two: The Forty-fives)

The 1975-1976 school year was an unusually tumultuous one for this fourth-grader, the son of an Air Force man. At the end of the 1975 school year, I was dutifully sent off via Greyhound Bus to spend the Summer with my Texas Grandparents, a short four hour trip from Fort Worth to Navasota with a peanut butter (no jelly, ever) sammich and a book about butterflies in my lap. A tiny duffel bag my Mom had made me was there on the bus somewhere, too.
My Missouri Grandparents moved later that Bicentennial Summer to Gurdon, Arkansas. Also that Summer, Dad was given orders to relocate from Carswell AFB in Fort Worth to Chanute AFB in Rantoul. When Summer ended and it was time to go back home and start school, my parents did not return. (I would find out later that it had been the only "rough patch" in their relationship.) My Missouri (now Arkansas) Grandparents drove down and picked me up and took me back to Gurdon where Nan-Nan enrolled me in Gurdon Primary School on the very first day of classes.
At the end of the first quarter, my parents showed up and took me back to our new home on Chanute AFB and enrolled me in Maplewood Elementary School where I finished out fourth-grade in Mrs. Arnett's homeroom. (No idea where my younger sister was during all of this. She doesn't recall that Summer and Mom may have blocked it out as well or simply forgotten, choosing to remember some of the other 50 years she and Dad were together. This is all pieced together from my own fractured memories and may not be entirely accurate.)
Despite all the traveling and the two different schools in two different states, I managed to make the Honor Roll all three quarters at Maplewood despite some noted behavioral issues on my report card. For the second time in my young life, I also broke my right wrist, this time playing chase at recess when a tiny little girl fell on me so I learned to write and eat with my left hand. Then, on my tenth birthday, my parents took me to Bergner's and bought me my first stereo system, a sweet Soundesign AM/FM/8-track/record player (with two speakers!) that looked a lot like the one pictured above. That stereo, along with the discovery of WLS, made the whole year a really good one despite all the moving around. And that broken wrist. But before we get to the hit singles of June 1976, let's first turn our attention to WLS's Top 10 from June 21, 1971, as reprinted on the reverse side of the survey from June 19, 1976:
Two of my favorite things are also represented on the back of the survey: donuts and Summer. My blood glucose level was below 100 this morning so I just enjoyed a couple of donuts this first Sunday morning of Summer.
And now, without further delay, here's The Hideaway's exclusive, highly-biased look at WLS's Forty-fives from June 19, 1976.
There are five debuts on this week's chart including bottom-of-the-list #45 "Tear The Roof Off The Sucker" from Parliaments (sic). The song would peak at #25 in a two-month journey up then down the list. Coming in at #43 is Seals & Crofts with an assist from Carolyn Wills who gets credit on the 45 (but not from WLS) and really made the song for this listener who snapped it up at his first opportunity. Within two months, "Get Closer" would reach its peak at #2 behind "Don't Go Breaking My Heart". The honey-voiced Candi Staton crashes the chart at #42 with "Young Hearts Run Free" and would take it up to #17 in an 11-week run. Dad was still buying singles at this point and he picked up the record at #41 after hearing it on American Top 40 shortly after his 30th birthday in May 1976. I remember him really liking "Moonlight Feels Right" a lot, it became one of his turn-it-up and everybody-be-quiet songs when it came on the radio. Somewhat fittingly, "Moonlight Feels Right" would peak on WLS's list of Forty-fives on Mom's birthday on the last day of July 1976 at #21. The highest charting debut on this week's chart is "Afternoon Delight" from the Starland Vocal Band at #40. Within five weeks, the song would top the chart. At the tender age of 10, I had no idea what the lyrics were about but I knew all the words and sang along whenever I heard it. And Dad bought the 45 and I remember really liking the way the label looks. I never noticed until recently that Phil Ramone is listed as an Assistant Producer on the label. Besides "Get Closer" above, here's a rundown of the other 45s I owned from WLS Musicradio Survey for the week ending June 19,1976:
Remember that stereo I mentioned getting for my birthday? My folks also let me pick out a 45 to test it out when I got home and I chose "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)". It was my favorite song around the time of my tenth birthday in April 1976 and I've never really grown tired of it though if I never hear that inane Ben Liebrand remix of the song from the late Eighties/early Nineties again, I'll be a happier man. This week, the song slips five down to #39 after peaking at #1 back in February. In My Favorite Songs of 1976 countdown back in 2016, "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)" was Number One
Down six to #38 this week is the first of two Captain & Tennille singles on the chart. "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" was the duo's second Number One hit with a Neil Sedaka-penned song and though I loved it immensely back in 1976, it only came in at #30 on My 100 Favorite Songs of 1976.
"Right Back Where Started From" is at #28 this week, down from its peak of #2 back in May. I liked this song a whole heck of a lot as well and it has stood the test of time and came in at #2 on my 1976 countdown.
"Let Your Love Flow" makes me happier whenever it comes on, whether I'm listening out on the back porch, in The Blueberry or out in public. Neil Diamond and Johnny Rivers took a pass on it, so Gene Cotton cut it first, with a Memphis horn section and a more electric sound but it is the Bellamy Brothers who do the song justice. They are at #21 this week after peaking at #3 just last month. "Let Your Love Flow" can be found at #7 on the 1976 Hideaway 100 which is another name for My Favorite Songs of 1976.
"More, More, More" is at #32 on the 1976 Hideaway 100. I wrote then that I loved the music more than the vocals and would be happy with an instrumental version of the song so its little wonder that DJ Discocat's Disco Purrfection version is my favorite. The 45 is up two to #20 this week on its way to topping out at #9 at the end of July.
As I was raised on the music of Chuck Berry and the Beach Boys thanks to my Dad, "Rock And Roll Music" was like a dream come true for 10-year-old me. I snatched up the 45 and the parent album 15 Big Ones was one of six albums from my initial RCA Music Club order. The single would peak at #2 at the end of July although here on its third week on the list of Forty-fives, it is the biggest mover, jumping up 15 spots to #16. Of all the singles I'm recounting today, this one has probably taken the greatest tumble in my opinion over the past 40+ years and I'm pretty sure it did not make the 1976 Hideaway 100. (I didn't bother to check.)
The first of three Sylvers singles I eventually bought, "Boogie Fever" slips to #15 this week after peaking at #2 back in April. This irresistible single sits at #19 on my list where I also provided seven YouTube links to watch this talented family group perform their song.
Not many of the TV shows I really liked when I was 9 (and then 10) years old have held up for me. M*A*S*H, Barney Miller and The Six Million Dollar Man come to mind. (I still dig some of the same cartoons, comics, movies, food, and music from way back then though.) A couple of years back, MeTV added Welcome Back Kotter to their nightly schedule and I recorded a week's worth to watch and reminisce as I hadn't seen them since they originally aired.  Three thoughts occurred to me as I watched the first episode before deleting the other four off of the DVR unwatched and withdrawing from James Buchanan High:
  • I enjoy Gabe Kaplan's stories about his character's family that he shared with his TV wife, Marcia Strassman, and other characters more than any of the Sweathogs hijinks though I cannot recall if he shared such in that first episode;
  • Has someone taken the time to sketch out Kotter's family tree? That guy had a lot of Uncles if I recall correctly;
  • I still really like the show's opening credits and the theme song "Welcome Back". The show itself in retrospect, not so much.
John Sebastian's song drops six this week to #14, down from its peak at Number One in May. On the 1976 Hideaway 100, "Welcome Back" is way down at #79. 
There are songs that leap out of the radio from the get-go as if that is their reason for being, songs like "Go All The Way", Pilot's "Magic" and "The Boys Are Back In Town". Thin Lizzy's melodic hard-rocker moves up 8 spots from #21 this week and will not stop until it reaches #2 in another four weeks. This was my fourth Favorite Song of 1976 when I made my list in 2016.
A sparse version "Happy Days" had been the closing credits of the show since Season One and the song was expanded in the second season eventually becoming the opening song as well, replacing the instant nostalgia of (and increasingly expensive to license) "Rock Around The Clock". "Happy Days" is down three to #8 this week after reaching #3 a couple weeks prior. Did I have it on my list? Yup, it's at #94.
"Rock And Roll Love Letter" is another song that comes blaring out of the speaker from that alternate dimension where righteous riffs rule. And even if it is all covered in bubble gum and cotton candy, I'd argue that some of the best power pop riffs are sticky sweet. "Rock And Roll Love Letter" will peak next week at #4 but for now its at #6, up one from last week. On the 1976 Hideaway 100, the Bay City Rollers landed at #10 but if I started from scratch right this instant, they'd be Top 5.
If you don't know what this song is about, far be it for me to lay it on ya out of the blue. To little ol' 1976 me, "Shannon" sounded like a sad Beach Boys track and I loved it for that. The fact that I recognized the names of Jim Croce's producers from Dad's albums as the producers of the 45 was the icing on the cake. On the WLS Forty-fives list this week, Henry Gross falls from two weeks at #2 down to #5. "Shannon" is at #86 on the 1976 Hideaway 100.
"Fooled Around And Fell In Love" is credited to Elvin Bishop but it was through Casey or even a WLS jock or perhaps a TV appearance (The Midnight Special?) that I learned that it was Bishop's band but Mickey Thomas's voice on the record. Probably my second favorite slow dance tune of 1976 behind Rose Royce's "I Wanna Get Next To You" and definitely Top 5 All-Time in that category. Sits at #8 on my 1976 list and moves up two spots to #4 this week on the WLS list.
According to the credits on the inner sleeve of their Song of Joy album, Captain Daryl Dragon plays Fender Bass and guitar in addition to his usual keyboards & synthesizers on "Shop Around" while Gary Sims handles the bass vocals heard on the track. There is a level of funk heard on this song including Tennille's vocals that is absent from all others in the C&T catalog and I really like it. "Shop Around" checks out at #3 this week, up one from last week on its way to Number One next week. When I made my list of Favorite Songs of 1976 back in 2016, I used the arbitrary rule of one song per artist and gave the nod to "Lonely Night (Angel Face)" so "Shop Around" was relegated to The Runners Up, Also-Rans and Near-Misses. When the 1976 Hideaway 200 rolls around at some point, both songs undoubtedly reside in the upper half.
"Silly Love Songs" is the Number One Forty-five for a fourth week and *SPOILER ALERT* it would fall to #2 next week to make room form "Shop Around". For me, "Silly Love Songs" is an all-time favorite song and has an elementary school love story attached as well. You can read that story HERE (scroll down, you'll find it) where I made it #4 on the 1976 Hideaway 100. It is also the sixteenth 45 from the WLS Musicradio Survey for the week ending June 19, 1976, that I owned back then and I would eventually add another dozen 45s in the intervening forty-something years.
(As I was out of state all Summer, I did not own this survey or any of the Summer month surveys back in 1976 but was fortunate enough to pick them up recently.)
Everybody's friend jb covered many of these same songs and a few more when he looked at the American Top 40 show from June 12, 1976. Do check that post out (or this follow-up of Hot 100 songs outside the Top 40, including several you'll see on the Forty-fives list above) and any or all of the 10,000+ posts he's shared over the past 15 years as well. AND he just got back in the podcast game today.

1 comment:

  1. I am now I injecting this post straight into my veins. Thank you sir.