WLS Music Survey - July 14, 1979 (Part Two: The Forty-fives)

If you haven't read or simply don't remember reading the post  WLS Music Survey - July 14, 1979 (Part One: The Thirty-threes) from way way back in 2019 CLICK THIS.
Despite being a huge fan of Landecker's nightly high-energy Boogie Check, I never felt the urge to call in or participate in any way but it was still fun to listen to each evening. Not for nothing but those Cheap Trick bow ties the boys are modeling in the pic go for big bucks these days. Do you think Nielsen might still have a few cases of them in storage? 
The lyrics on the back of this week's survey are for last week's #6 Forty-five, Supertramp's "The Logical Song", which drops one spot to #7 this week. When asked in an interview what his favorite song was from 1979, supposedly Paul McCartney's answer was Supertramp's "The Logical Song" though I could not find the actual interview to verify.
It remains a great sing-along forty-something years later and the sounds from Mattel Electronics Football game are a reminder of just how much time some of us spent pressing buttons to move those little red dashes across the screen. Supertramp's singer/keyboardist Rick Davies was obsessively playing the game between recording takes and someone
in the studio had the bright idea to incorporate the sound effect from the game into the song.  
Before we take a look at the Forty-fives from July 14, 1979, let's pause to step into our boogie shoes because this week's list is peak disco-licious. We begin our perusal with the two 45s dropping off the Forty-fives chart from last week:
Pictured above are the labels from mono DJ copies of Cheryl Lynn's "Star Love" which had peaked at #33 on the Forty-fives list back at the beginning of June and Chic's "I Want Your Love" which began its descent from #13 back in late April.
Jumping onto this week's list of Forty-fives are the latest singles respectively from Elton John and Raydio. John's "Mama Can't Buy You Love", featuring background vocals from The Spinners, pops in at #45 on its way to a peak of #22 in late August before rolling off the station's singles list itself two months later. Raydio's "You Can't Change That" continued the band's laidback, smooth funk from last year's "Jack and Jill" (which hit #3 on WLS's chart). The single debuted at #39 and peaked at #10 just after Labor Day in a respectable sixteen-week run, good enough to make #64 on the Big 89 of '79 year-end list. Man that MCA 45 label is just ugly.
Chic's "Good Times" jumps from #45 to #30 to claim the week's highest leap up the Forty-fives chart while Frank Mill's "Music Box Dancer", the only instrumental track in the field of forty-five, falls from #31 to #40, taking the week's biggest tumble down the list. Chic's track will wind up at #28 on the year-end tally while Mills' will barely make the cut at #86.
Donna Summer, undeniably at the peak of her career in the Summer of '79, finds herself as one of six artists with a pair of 45s of the list of Forty-fives with Bad Girls moving up three from last week to #5 while "Hot Stuff" spends its fifth week at Number One. Two Top 5 singles in a week? That's rarified air - up there with the Beatles and the Bee Gees. "Hot Stuff" will claim #5 on the Big 89 and "Bad Girl" will toot-toot at #25.
The Brothers Doobie continue their weeks-long streak of having a pair of 45s on the list this week with "What A Fool Believes" falling to #28 and "Minute By Minute" rising to #19. Two weeks ago, both singles were back-to-back on the Forty-fives though only one, the Kenny Loggins co-write "What A Fool Believes" will wind up on the Big 89 way up at #3.
With "Shake Your Groove Thing" sinking down to #43 and "Reunited" falling to #17 Peaches & Herb are still on Forty-fives with a pair of tracks from 2 Hot! which sits at #25 on the list of Thirty-threes this week. The pair of singles would spend one more week together on the station's chart though they would be reunited on the Big 89, with "Shake" at #30 and "Reunited" posted up at #10. 
Another group with two singles on the Forty-fives list is Sister Sledge. "He's The Greatest Dancer" is holding at #37 after peaking at #17 back in late May in the same week that the family foursome's second single "We Are Family" debuted on the list. The latter would peak at #5 the first week of July and find a place at #39 on the Big 89.
Village People also check in this week with a big pair of singles from two different albums (Cruisin' and Go West) making them the only artist with that particular distinction this week. In the closing weeks of an amazing 35-week run on WLS's list of Forty-fives that saw it make it to #2 Back in January 1979, "Y.M.C.A." falls from #40 to #41. The song (and dance) would return for an encore on the Big 89 at #22. The follow-up single "In The Navy" sinks from #20 to #22 this week after hitting #10 a couple months back. Forty years, only original lead singer (and credited co-writer of these two singles) Victor Willis remains from the first Village People recording sessions in 1977. 
Wings find themselves with their first two singles for their new label Columbia back-to-back on Forty-fives this week. Down one spot from last week is the non-album single "Goodnight Tonight" at #24, a couple of months after its peak at #9 and it will claim a year-end spot on the Big 89 at #45. "Getting Closer" is at #23 and moving up towards its future peak at #20 in a couple of weeks.
In addition to both Donna Summer singles discussed earlier as well as "Reunited", there are three other singles on this week's list that had already or would soon top the list of Forty-fives. Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and Amii Stewart's "Knock On Wood" peaked back in March and April respectively while Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell" would top the WLS Forty-fives chart the very next week, on the survey dated July 21, 1979. Overall, 34 of the 45 singles (75.5%) on this week's survey would end up on WLS's Big 89 of 1979 year-end survey.
Historically, the week of this survey is when the infamously ugly Disco Demolition fiasco went down in between a scheduled White Sox doubleheader at Chicago's Comiskey Park. Within two weeks, "My Sharona" would debut on the Forty-fives chart as if on cue while the following week it would be joined by other new wave-y rock singles by the likes of Joe Jackson, Bram Tchaikovsky, Electric Light Orchestra, and The Cars as disco's chart dominance began to quickly wane. 
The movie Meatballs was released a couple weeks prior to this survey being distributed. The movie's soundtrack album featured David Naughton's "Makin' It" which was initially recorded as the theme song for the Naughton-starring television series of the same name. By the time the song appeared on American Top 40 in May, the namesake show had already been axed back in March. As with many disco songs, "Makin' It" was released as a twelve-inch single with a Special Disco Version of the song. A slightly edited version appears on the Meatballs soundtrack album and both the 45 & twelve-inch singles were re-released with labels stating that the song was from the original motion picture soundtrack Meatballs. 


  1. It's really striking how many of these songs were still hanging on the Forty Fives list--quite a few are (long) gone from the Hot 100. I've not really considered this with respect to your other WLS posts--I'm curious if this chart is representative in that regard.

  2. Your astute observation of WLS’s behind the curve playlist is spot on. Their “wait and see” style of programming would not become apparent to me until decades later when I reassembled my collection of surveys. I have offered other station’s charts as well as national charts for comparison in prior posts and might do so again in future posts.