Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Day!

We'll still be doing our weekly Saturday Surveys feature this weekend ...

In fact, it's by far the BIGGEST issue yet of this popular new Forgotten Hits mainstay ...

But today, in honor of the WLS Silver Dollar Survey issued on May 1st, 1964, we're running this additional BONUS Chart.

Celebrating their 4TH YEAR as a Top 40 Radio Station, WLS took a look back this week in '64, presenting not only the week's biggest Top 20 Hits ... but also the biggest hits that helped to build the station into The Big 89 / The Rock of Chicago / and Chicagoland's Premier Hit Radio Station.

Actually, WLS would continue to honor this anniversary in 1965 ... this time with a Solid Gold Survey where, as you can see, The British Invasion was still going strong ...

Top Ten Hits include the latest from Herman's Hermits, The Kinks, a two-sided hit by The Beatles, Petula Clark, The Rolling Stones, Freddie and the Dreamers, the mis-spelled Gerry and the Pacemakers and the oft-lumped-into The British Invasion group The Seekers.

In fact, the British domination continues through the next several positions, too, with Herman's Hermits also holding down the #11 spot, The Moody Blues at #12 and Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders at #13.  That gives British Artists 11 of the Top 13 spots on the chart!!!

The new 20 Best Selling #1 Records List has a lot of repeats ... but some new entries, too, including "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison ... this record hadn't come out yet when the 1964 chart was made ... which was also the case for "Eight Days A Week" by The Beatles, "Where Did Our Love Go" by The Supremes, "Love Me Do" by The Beatles, "This Diamond Ring" by Gary Lewis and the Playboys, "Rag Doll" by The Four Seasons and "A Hard Day's Night", yet ANOTHER hit by The Beatles), giving The Fab Four 6 of The Top 20 Positions on this chart, too!!!

The station deviated from the program a little bit a year later ... pushing the special survey back till the first week of June ... and this time honoring some of rock's biggest hits from BEFORE they switched over to Top 40 Rock themselves ... spotlighting the biggest hits from 1956 - 1965 ...

... but still sticking with the Solid Gold format.  Now it's Chubby Checker who is represented twice ... with only one hit listed for each year, The Beatles are reduced down to only "I Want To Hold Your Hand" as their contribution to the biggest Rock And Roll Hits of the Past Ten Years!

And finally, they'd travel down this road one last time ... now back to an April anniversary date in 1967 ... and THIS time spotlighting the Biggest Hits of the '60's!  (Funny how each chart somehow portrays a slightly different aspect of the best of the best ... yet it showed that even after only four years on the air with their new Top 40 format, the station was VERY proud of their already established rich radio heritage.  That's what makes it SUCH a great shame that they no longer seem to feel this way today.  WLS was a radio GIANT ... heard in 48 states before the word "streaming" had even been invented!!!

It was great to see them going their own way, too, by promoting local hits by The Buckinghams (#1), The Cryan' Shames (#12), The New Colony Six (#13), The Messengers (as in Michael and the Messengers, from Wisconsin at #14 ... and a recent topic of discussion here in Forgotten Hits) and The Riddles (#23).  All these local hits ranked and played right along side some of the biggest artists of the era:  The Monkees, The Turtles, The Dave Clark Five, The Hollies, The Supremes, Neil Diamond, Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Lovin' Spoonful, The Four Tops, The Four Seasons and Jefferson Airplane ... and nobody ever even gave it a second thought!  THAT's what WE remember about Top 40 Radio in the '60's!  Everything fit ... and we loved it!  (kk)