(Above: Just don’t write to him about a dead dog.)
July 4, 1970
It’s the 194th anniversary of the United States declaring independence. It’s also the date of the first broadcast of a radio program that turned out to be pretty darned important to a lot of us who went into the field. “American Top 40” premiered, with Los Angeles disk jockey (and the voice of Shaggy!) Casey Kasem counting down the top records as reported by Billboard every week. The first week’s show ran on ten radio stations; two generations of present and future disk jockeys later listened each week to see if it would be the week that Casey would say their station’s call letters.
It’s a bad week for air travel: on July 3rd 112 passengers are killed in a crash in Barcelona, and on July 5 another 109 lives are lost when a DC-8 crashes on approach to Toronto International Airport.
On the charts: it’s the second and final week at the top for The Jackson Five and “The Love You Save.” Watch this space next week for a new leader.
Among the songs that are new on the charts this week:
“Everything a Man Could Ever Need” – Glen Campbell (debut at #80). When the top new tune of the week is in the eighties, that’s usually an indication that the list will be a little weak. We start with a song that made it to #3 on the Easy Listening charts and only #52 on the Pop side. Remember the film Norwood? This is from that film, which starred – Glen Campbell. (I mean, Joe Namath is in it, too, but… yeah.)
“Superman” – The Ides of March (#83). Now we’re getting somewhere. Outside of Chicago you never hear this one anymore; sure, it’s a little derivative, but the last record hit #2, and why mess with the formula? This one only gets to #64, since “Great Caesar’s ghost” doesn’t have the same charm as “Great God in heaven” when it comes to exclamations in choruses. As far as regional airplay, St. Louis is the hotspot for this one: it hit #8 on KADI.
“Destiny/Susie-Q” – Jose Feliciano (#84). I’ll add this one to my guilty pleasure list, and I’m surprised to see it only move one notch higher than this. The record (both sides) stay on the chart only two weeks and disappear. It fares better on the Easy Listening side, landing at #15. As for side two? I’d go with Dale Hawkins or CCR.
“Tell It All Brother” – Kenny Rogers & the First Edition (#86). I touched on this one in passing in a chart review of WGRD/Grand Rapids from July of 1970, so I won’t add much more here. Nationally this makes it to #17, making it the most successful debut of this week.
“Sunshine” – The Archies (#87). If I haven’t ranted about it before: people got bent about The Monkees not playing their own instruments, and yet a band that really wasn’t a band (because they were animated) put four records in the Top 40. I digress. This isn’t one of those four, as it stops at #57 and represents the end of the chart run for the band. This makes it to #3 in Sarasota and is a #6 record on WKFR in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“Hello Darlin’” – Conway Twitty (#88). I should have clarified my earlier comment about the most successful debut of this week. If we count the Country chart, it’s this one, as this record spent four weeks there at #1. Pop-wise, it’s only headed for #60. Regionally, it’s a #1 record on WMUS in Muskegon, Michigan.
“Wonder Could I Live There Anymore” – Charley Pride (#90). Likewise, this one is another Country crossover that topped that chart (two weeks at #1) and stalled on the pop side, remaining here only three weeks and stopping at #87. This one tops the charts on WMNI in Columbus, Ohio as well as in Tucson and Charlotte, NC.
“Stealing In the Name Of the Lord” – Paul Kelly (#92). Miami-born Kelly hit the charts twice, and darned if this one didn’t just about make it into the Top 40. It stopped at #49, with regional airplay in Baltimore, Maryland (multiple weeks at #1 on WWIN) and Washington, DC (#6 on WOOK). I’m also guessing that when you saw the title you thought of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” which won’t be released for two years yet.
“Hand Clapping Song” – The Meters (#93). Stop me if you’ve heard this one. I’ll wait. That’s because you’ve likely heard the sample used by other artists (Salt n Pepa come to mind), in advertising, and in a number of other places. Not bad for a tune that only hit #89 in its initial release. Folks in Littleton, Colorado were hip, though – this hit #7 on KDKO.
“Good Morning Freedom” – Daybreak (#94; re-entry). This one first hit on June 13, so I will direct you there. It’s still a fun record.
“Let the Music Take Your Mind” – Kool & the Gang (#95). This is still early K&tG, but it’s starting to sound more like the bigger hits to come by 1974 (like “Jungle Boogie”). This one gets to #78 and hangs around for six weeks.
“I Heard the Voice of Jesus” – Turley Richards (#99; re-entry). This one first hit on June 20, so I will direct you there. It’s not as much fun as the Daybreak record.