Here's the full WLS line-up, circa 1969 ... Clark Weber (a long-time FH contributor), Art Roberts, one of the great 'LS deejays from the '60's, who even hosted his own television show here in The Windy City for a short while, the incomparable Larry Lujack, "Superjock," our FH Buddy Chuck Buell, who still makes us smile every time we hear from him, Kris Erik Stevens (Buell and Stevens were part of the new "youth movement" Program Director John Rook was going for ... and it was thru John that I ultimately connected with both of them) ... and then Jerry Kay, the guy who did overnights for the station.
Honestly, I'd put this line-up against ANY at the Top 40 stations currently broadcasting across the nation at the time. The '60's was a hotbed of Top 40 Heaven, and WLS consistently led the pack with "personality" radio. Gone was Bernie Allen, Dex Card (incredibly it was LUJACK who was counting down the weekly chart these days!) and Don Phillips ... all kind of vintage "fuddy-dud" broadcasters who, being much older ... and LOOKING much older ... didn't really connect well with WLS' target teenage audience. (Quite honestly, even Art Roberts had "toned things down a bit" as a much more laid-back mid-day jock for the station.)
Most sorely missed was Ron Riley, one of the hippest jocks to ever grace the station. Ron, too, still participates from time to time with Forgotten Hits ... man, I used to LOVE tuning in to his program each night ... a VERY creative and inventive jock who put his all into his program.
As for the music, it was more of 1969's best. Tommy Roe STILL holds down the top spot with his mega-hit "Dizzy." (We told you last week that it eventually sold six million copies!) Not a huge shake-up for the rest of this week's Top Ten, although "Hot Smoke And Sasafrass" and "May I" and "Long Green" have already outperformed their national runs. (Bubble Puppy has the #7 record here in Chicago this week ... it peaked at #13 nationally; Bill Deal and the Rhondels sit at #8 this week in Chi-Town while nationally it would stop at #33 ... and #39 in Billboard!) and The Fireballs have the #10 record with "Long Green," which had a #43 national showing in Cash Box ... but lingered all the way down at #73 in Billboard!
How hot is The Cowsills' new hit "Hair"? It jumps 24 places (incredible!) from #37 to #13 this week, a sure-fire #1 Hit! "Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In" by The Fifth Dimension, also from the same musical, leaps 17 spots from #40 to #23.
Other big movers include "Mendocino" by The Sir Douglas Quintet (#20 to #12), "It's Your Thing" by The Isley Brothers (#32 to #24), "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," the new one by Neil Diamond (#34 to #27) and "You've Made Me So Very Happy," our first exposure to a brand new group called Blood, Sweat And Tears, jumps from #38 to #30.
Debuts this week include a few tracks that will go on to remain popular fixtures for many decades to come ... "I Can Hear Music" by The Beach Boys premiers at #37, "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'" by Crazy Elephant premiers at #38, proving that bubblegum music was sill alive and well in 1969 (as if Tommy Roe's #1 Record wasn't proof enough!) and Tommy James and the Shondells are exhibiting a whole new sound with their latest, "Sweet Cherry Wine," which debuts at #40.
I've also always been partial to the brand new record premiering this week at #39. I had to see the record for myself in order to believe that "Will You Be Staying After Sunday" was not the brand new Spanky And Our Gang record ... but rather the debut hit for a brand new band called The Peppermint Rainbow. To this day, I still believe Spanky was cheated out of what could have been her biggest hit ... but of course at THIS point, it doesn't really matter ... a good song is a good song is a good song ... and this is a GREAT one that definitely falls into the "Forgotten Hit" category!
This Week in 1969:
March 11th – Actor Terrence Howard is born
Also on this date, the country duo Flatt and Scruggs officially break up
March 12th – Paul McCartney, the last single Beatle, marries Linda Eastman at the Marylebone Registry Office in the City of Westminster in Central London. His brother Mike is his Best Man … and none of the other Beatles attend. (Linda is pregnant with the couple’s first daughter, Mary.) Paul will eventually adopt Linda’s daughter Heather from a previous marriage.
Also on this date ... while Paul and Linda were getting married, George and Patti Harrison were being busted for cannabis possession!
The Everly Brothers and Ray Charles are among the guests on tonight's airing of The Kraft Music Hall.
March 13th – Apollo 9 returns safely to Earth
Also on this date, the Elvis Presley film "Charro" opens in theaters
And Glen Campbell records "True Grit," the title song to the new movie he'll be starring in with American icon John Wayne.
March 16th - Janis Joplin performs "Raise Your Hand" and "Maybe" on The Ed Sullivan Show. Ed Ames is also on hand, singing "If I Had A Hammer" and "Changing, Changing."
March 17th – Golda Meir becomes the first female Prime Minister of Israel.
Since March 17th is, after all, St. Patrick's Day, WLS DJ Chuck Buell sent us this memento from 50 years ago today ...
Top ‘O’ the Forgotten Hits Mornin’ to you, Laddie!
Here’s the Special 1969 WLS St. Patrick’s Day Full Newspaper Promo Page that appeared in the Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun Times!
Left to Right: Clark Weber, Art Roberts, Larry Lujack, Chuck Buell, Kris Stevens, Jerry Kay and, of course, St. Patrick!
Faith and Begorrah, Danny Boy! Those were the Days!
Thank you, St. Charles ... which, as everybody out there knows by now, is also the home of The Arcada Theatre!
Guess I'll just sign off for today then as Paddy O'Furniture! (kk)