Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Yet Another 1967 Bonus - Special WLS / WCFL Edition
I have been wanting to make an audio montage of the hits of this period you are presenting from January / February, 1967 from the all important WLS / WCFL slant and have worked up a long set of clips from tapes of the snowstorm+ week that so many remember.
The radio was blaring in more ears than just mine. You will hear things recorded by me in Dodge City, Kansas, as well as things recorded by similar AM top 40 music fans such as MY BROTHER Steve and FH member Ed Erxleben and several more friends I have met over the decades who recorded off the radio, which allowed such a nearly complete assessment of the Feb 3rd Silver Dollar Survey. FH member Stu Shea was a great help as well and all of the MANY tulu babies that have offered their memories of a great time and place, such as ... KENT KOTAL! Thanks you all, especially my fave Chicago 60's DJ's, music group members, and fans of such!
Altho this focuses (mainly) on the Feb 3rd WLS chart, you'll hear the greatness that was WLS AND WCFL! I did not have time to cruise thru hundreds of tapes, but did a search on many featuring the clips of this period and hope you enjoy testing your memories. Be aware of the AM radio audio limitations -- especially when some things are recorded direct line from radios and some with microphone put up to an AM radio speaker!
This is not only a countdown of the 2/3/67 Silver Dollar Survey songs using clips of the actual Chicago DJs playing these hits at that time, but also an idea of what fun it was listening to that transistor radio under the pillow and how exciting the music always was.
The beginning of this montage is a few songs from Ron Riley's WLS 8 - 9 PM Sunday evening "British Billboard" show. It was a chance to hear what the hits were in England, with many often being hits here, too. Below IS the British Billboard from 2/4/67 issue. You'll note Monkeemania has swept the UK much the same that the Beatles swept the US EXACTLY three years prior. Just as "I Want to Hold Your Hand" opened the door followed by the older "She Loves You" 45, in ENGLAND, "I'm a Believer" was the Monkees' first UK hit and if you check #45, the OLDER "Last Train To Clarksville" debuted for the first time, eventually reaching #23 as their SECOND hit there!
You'll also hear the original UK 45 of "Gimme Some Lovin'" as WLS played it BEFORE the revamped US 45 was released. WCFL's Ron Britain also had a British Countdown program too at the time.
Following the short Brit show clips, we check out songs from this week's "Silver Dollar Extra" file, as Dex Card would put it. These were songs that were making debut airings on WLS and WCFL that would soon become Chicago hits.
Of course, the then LONG anticipated (geez, it had been four months!) new Beatles 45 was being premiered with interesting comments of the B side as well as the A side having the famed "trumpet ending" that ONLY a few radio stations received at that time. The new 45 PICTURE SLEEVE would also show us the bearded fabs for the first time!
Another newby is the Mamas & Papas' cover of the Shirelles that led the Cryan' Shames idea to decide to cover "Up On The Roof" in the coming year! Their new 45 is just about to hit the WLS / WCFL charts as well as a cover spread the past week in the Chicago Trib!
After the extras, we get into the "numerical countdown" of the WLS Silver Dollar Survey. Altho not all clips are from the EXACT week, if you look at Kent's survey copy while you listen, you can follow the countdown to #1, starting with Donovan's #39 "Epistle to Dippy" on this montage. Along the way, you will hear the long distant memories click in of the great WLS and WCFL DJs in their glory years. Those WLS legends Ron Riley, Art Roberts, Dex Card, Clark Weber, Bernie Allen, Don Phillips as well as CFL's Ron Britain, Jim Stagg, Barney Pip and Jerry G are all here to hear! Flipping between the stations was a GOOD habit then. The commentary and shtick of both stations was great. The Silver Dollar Survey or the Capsule Countdown, Chickenman or the Batman Club, the 10 PM top 3 requested or the Stagg Line top 5 at 5, TSW's (Two-Sided Winners) or Mini-Spins, the long CFL and shorter WLS jingles -- the comparisons / differences never ended. Here, you'll hear Ron Britain's "psych-O-delic happening" and the Riley / Weber feud when Riley does Weber and Weber does Riley. There's WCFL's ties to the Cheetah club where, looking back now at who was in the band then, the Exceptions were playing. Of course, the recent SNOW STORM is covered here as well as recent below temps.
WLS' Ron Riley's photo was even in this week's issue of Billboard with Jefferson Airplane. Not that surprising? Well, consider that WLS would not even be airing their first national hit "Somebody To Love" for another month, that's pretty good foresight as Ron points the way towards their future!
Besides the countdown of the WLS survey, we'll find that there were differences in Top 10 boards, as we present the national TV American Bandstand Dick Clark Top 10 board countdown, the WJOB Hammond, Indiana, small market Top 10, and the WCFL Capsule Countdown from this week. Along with WLS' chart, the four Top 10 boards all featured different #1 songs!
Oh yeah, there's some WAAAAY groovy music by Forgotten Hits members the Royal Guardsmen, Tommy Roe, Gary Lewis, Herman's Hermits, The New Colony 6, The Buckinghams, Tommy James ... and, yes, THE CRYAN SHAMES!!!
In all, the montage runs a little over 23 minutes and the entire uncut version can be downloaded for free here: https://we.tl/6m0xJYLKq9
BTW, here's the way we listed the songs as I heard them this week 50 years ago printed on my dad's yellow telegraph paper. Last week's position (when Dex gave it or when I knew it) at far left. We (brother Steve and I) usually listed the new feature song below, and this week it was "Petty Lane"???
I could do these montages better and hope I can do one every couple of months here, but this one took two weeks of spare time. I love 60's radio!
Let the countdown begin!
Please use the link above to download the full 23-minute montage that Clark put together exclusively for our readers. It was, without question, a VERY exciting time in radio.
(I had forgotten about the special feature The Chicago Tribune put together on Chicago's Cryan' Shames for this week in '67 ... it lost such a HUGE part of its audience due to the paralyzing snow storm that kept many or most of us indoors that weekend!) kk
The Comments emails have been tremendous and given me so many ideas. You will see that I personally am REALLY into top 40 radio AND making surveys of MY fictitious (but hopeful to come true) KOBI radio station. Note the four week movements ala Billboard's Hot 100, as well as the WLS / WCFL influences. To far left, "Million Seller" red dots and the red ink denoting fastest movers and the 50,000 watts of power (ala 'CFL and 'LS), ABC owned. Note that the Cryan' Shames' "I Wanna Meet You" still hangin' in at 29 for week 18 on my chart with the B side still at 44! My all-time fave "Look Through Any Window' is a year+ old and #42!
You will also see the influences of KOMA OKC's Sing-a-Long Survey at bottom. Note that the Monkees' two early play LP cuts are a month on at #1 and #3. There's even a back side featuring MY Brit choices via Billboard and Ron Riley's show.
Lastly, a hilarious look at MY TV ratings as a soon to be 11 year old. Note that I was ahead of my time giving Ron Riley his own TV show then. Ron has gone on to spend more time as a TV personality than he did on radio, I believe! The Beatles had their own show too!!!!???? And my dad's fave somehow is #60!!! haha
Both this week's KOMA and KIMN charts reflect FH members, too. As Larry Neal noted, Ed Ames holds #1. Our own FH member, David Allan's "Blues' Theme" gets early airplay on KOMA with a song that lasted well 11 months on charts over various parts of the US. This week in '67, it jumps from off the chart to #9 on KOMA's chart. Local competitor, WKY, would not have it in the top 10 for a couple of weeks. The song was charting in only 2 or 3 cities at this time. It had been top 10 in Phoenix on New Year's day.
The song would finally slink into the national Hot 100 at #97 nearly 3 MONTHS later!It would have a 17 week BILLBOARD chart run AFTER that, peaking at 37 in September! In the last week of October, 1967, it was top 25 in Minneapolis. Now THAT is being LATE on a record!
[Funny ... we have a piece coming up in Forgotten Hits discussing this very topic ... "Blues' Theme" was a Top Five Record nearly everywhere it charted ... but never had enough stations playing it at the same time to garner better than a #27 ranking nationally. That's a real shame ... as this should have been a major 1967 hit. - kk]
For Jeff Duntemann and other Denver music fans (like me), this week in '67 showed one BIG surprise to non-Denver residents. #2 was the TSW headed by "That Acapulco Gold" by the local band, the Rainy Daze. The song was co-written by group member Tim Gilbert and John Carter. It became a mild sized US hit on UNI. In a couple of months, one of the pair's other original songs would get released as a B side by Thee Sixpence. The A side failed, but DJs picked up the B side and UNI bought the master and changed the band's name and on December 7, 1967, it was certified a million seller! The group was now known as the Strawberry Alarm Clock and the song was "Incense & Peppermints"!!!! The year 1967 was indeed one full of magic! Oddly, our FH #1 psychedelic song did not even chart in England!
This chart more resembled the WLS chart otherwise, but also featured LP cuts showed up on KIMN charts occasionally. The Animals version of "Hey Gyp" was on at #27.