Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Saturday Survey - March 3rd, 1968

The Leap Year afforded us an extra chart this year ... so February 29th was represented by this WKY Chart out of Oklahoma City, OK.  (In fact, we're even celebrating with a BONUS CHART today!)

Read on ...

You'll find some pretty cool stuff on this chart ... including The Moody Blues' "Nights In White Satin" charting at #7 FOUR YEARS before it would make The Top Ten nationally.  (The single was first released in late 1967 but went virtually unnoticed, as did the landmark "Days Of Future Passed" LP from whence it came.  The best it could do in Billboard was "Bubble Under" at #103 the month before ... and it took the record five weeks to climb that high!  Re-released in August of 1972, it went to #1 on both the Cash Box and the Record World charts, peaking at #2 in Billboard.) 

Here in Oklahoma City, Otis Redding's "Dock Of The Bay" holds at #1 for a second week ... and check out The Monkees ... still mega-hot as their latest, "Valleri," (also a song first recorded for their TV show in 1967) sky-rockets from #46 to #9!!! 

Actually, there are quite a few big movers on this week's chart ... "Cab Driver" by The Mills Brothers climbs from #45 to #12, Petula Clark is up 27 places (from #47 to #20) with her latest, "Kiss Me Goodbye," Aretha Franklin's "Since You've Been Gone" now sits at #10 (up from #25 the week before) as "Chain Of Fools is still making its way down the chart at #36. 

It looks like its Roger Miller's version of "Little Green Apples" that's the big hit in Oklahoma City (up from #30 to #13 ... O.C. Smith will have the bigger national chart hit about six months from now), The Temptations jump 24 places (from #40 to #16) with their latest, "I Wish It Would Rain," The Four Seasons climb from #48 to #25 with their version of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and it looks like The Turtles have another smash on their hands as "Sound Asleep" climbs from #50 to #33.

This WKY once again proves the diversity of Top 40 Radio back in 1968 ... who can even imagine turning on the radio back then and, within the course of an hour, hearing the psychedelic, underground sounds of "A Question of Temperature" by The Balloon Farm, the almost classical, instrumental sound of Paul Mauriat's "Love Is Blue," a HUGE smash at exactly the same time, the retro hit "Cab Driver" by The Mills Brothers, an act that hadn't had a chart hit in ten years (and had their greatest success nearly twenty years before that!), the soulful sounds of Aretha, The Temptations, The Delfonics and a hot new group calling themselves Sly and the Family Stone, who debut on the chart this week at #50 with "Dance To The Music" ... to the bubblegum sound of The 1910 Fruitgum Company and The Monkees ... man, what a time for AM Radio (and all the while, FM was looming in the background, ready to take things over!)  kk

2-29-68 WKY Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Although Oklahoma City's KOMA was the Midwest Top 40 juggernaut that can be compared to the top stations of the 60's, it was town rival WKY that often led the top 40 ratings book in OKC itself.  Both stations created an atmosphere of a WLS / WCFL battle that was great for we listeners in those golden years.  

You'll find several 45s on this list that were never big nationally, but top 5 this week here was "Dr. Jon (The Medicine Man)" by the husband and wife duo Jon & Robin Abdnor.  The 45 was on the Abnor record label, which was owned by Jon's father.  They had hit big in 1967 with "Do It Again (Just a Little Bit Slower)" and found Midwest regional success with this later followup in 1968.  (I should mention the obvious copying by Jon & Robin to be the next Nancy & Lee, both in name and in the "lazy" music stylings of their vocals.  "Dr. Jon" was a hit up and down the plains states despite being unknown elsewhere.)

I am also seeing "Red, Green, Yellow & Blue" by Dickie Lee slipping down the WKY chart this week.  As a kid growing up, I heard this song on KOMA in OKC and no doubt Larry Neal did as well.  I did not know what it was about until decades later when, as an adult, I realized it was a morbid drug song, which is not unlike Lee to do following his huge sad hits of the past ("Laurie" and "Patches," etc.) and future ("9,999,999 Tears").  For some reason, I loved all of them!   This record went top 10 in OKC and other Midwest areas.  Looking back, it was almost like saying goodbye to an era that actually was still to thrive for a time, yet never the same again. BTW, if anyone liked "Laurie" as much as I did, you can recite the song perfectly singing it, as the story is one so intriguing that you cannot get the wrong verse in like you can singing many songs.  :)

Clark Besch


This one was just too good to pass up as our buddies The Buckinghams top the chart in Boston with their psychedelic pop sound of "Susan," still one of my all-time favorites from these guys.

The Bucks are in at least their second week on top of the chart, which is showing some pretty big chart discrepancies from the WKY chart above it, considering this is exactly the same week.

For example, Boston's WMEX chart has "Spooky" by The Classics IV climbing up to the #2 position while its already fallen from #22 to #35 in Oklahoma City.  Dionne Warwick's "Theme from 'The Valley Of The Dolls'" is brand new on the WMEX chart, is already falling on WKY and has already been #1 over a month ago in Oregon ... makes you wonder how on earth the national trades were accurately able to represent ANYTHING close to a "trend" in hit music!  ("She's A Rainbow" by The Rolling Stones is another similar example ... it was #1 six weeks ago in Oregon and is just first climbing the chart ... and slowly at that ... in Boston.)

I showed Carl Giammarese and Dennis Tufano copies of this chart, with "Susan" at #1, and Carl told me ...

Thanks for sending. Boston and the East coast were great to us.  We toured quite a bit up and down the eastern seaboard, especially NY and Boston.
The Buckinghams


Some of the cool musical events that happened 
THIS WEEK IN 1968 ... 

2/25/68:  Gladys Knight and the Pips perform a medley of “End Of Our Road,”, “And So Is Love” and “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” on The Ed Sullivan Show

2/27/68:  Singer Frankie Lymon is found dead of a heroin overdose at the age 25 in Harlem.  Lymon first hit the charts at the age of 13 when he and his group, The Teenagers, found success with the rock and roll classic “Why Do Fools Fall In Love.”

2/29/68:  The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” wins the Grammy for Best Album of the Year. (It also wins awards for George Martin as Producer, Geoff Emerick for engineering, and Best Album Cover Graphics for Peter Blake and Jann Haworth.  Aretha Franklin wins her first Grammy that same night, for Best Female R&B Vocal for last year’s #1 Hit “Respect” ... and the future looks bright for Bobbie Gentry, too, who wins awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Vocal Performance for her groundbreaking "Ode To Billie Joe."  "Up, Up And Away" by The Fifth Dimension wins multiple awards for the group, the producer (Johnny Rivers) and the writer (Jimmy Webb) and Glen Campbell scores a couple for "By The Time I Get To Phoenix."

3/1/68:  Johnny Cash marries June Carter (Rumor has it that they got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout) 

3/1/68:  Elton John's first record, "I've Been Loving You Too Long," is released in The UK on the Philips Record Label.  It bombs ... and they drop him a year later when his contract is up.

3/2/68:  Cat Stevens is hospitalized with tuberculosis ... he'll spend the next few months recuperating.

3/3/68:  Kenny Rogers and the First Edition perform “Just Dropped In” on The Ed Sullivan Show.  Also appearing that night is Lou Rawls