Grand Rapids charts: The WZZM-FM Hot 40, October 22, 1971

(Above: It's a cool layout with a clumsy slogan.) I don't believe we've ever done an FM playlist on the blog, so let's fix that today. I just happen to have, in a pile of surveys I file under "research" in my office, the playlist from WZZM-FM in Grand Rapids, Michigan from October 22, 1971. … Continue reading Grand Rapids charts: The WZZM-FM Hot 40, October 22, 1971

Fifty years ago in GR: WGRD’s Hot 30 in the Furniture City, January 8, 1969

(Above: The good folks at Woolworth's shouldn't have stamped across Mr. Merchant's picture like that....) January 8, 1969 was a Wednesday. In Chicago, Robert Sylvester Kelly was born; he would go on to have a starried if not controversial career as an R&B singer without his middle name and only an initial. In Miami, New … Continue reading Fifty years ago in GR: WGRD’s Hot 30 in the Furniture City, January 8, 1969

Fifty years ago today: WGRD’s Hot 30 In the Furniture City, November 14, 1968

(Above: The late Wayne Thomas - GR's Ron Britain, right down to singing the weather forecast.) Fifty years ago the country was preparing for a change in government - Richard Nixon had just been elected the 37th President of the United States. In Southern Illinois a couple that was married five months ago was preparing … Continue reading Fifty years ago today: WGRD’s Hot 30 In the Furniture City, November 14, 1968

Rest in peace, Aretha Franklin: “Respect” (1967)

After a variety of media reports of ill health that swirled this week, it can be confirmed that Aretha Franklin, known as "The Queen of Soul," passed away at her Detroit home this morning at the age of 76. There are far better writers than can do a far better job of telling her life … Continue reading Rest in peace, Aretha Franklin: “Respect” (1967)

Great playlists: WGRD’s “Big 30 In the Furniture City,” July 15, 1970

(Above: The same groovy look that CKLW, KHJ, and many other stations used for their surveys.) Every few weeks I've made it a point to dig out an old AM radio survey and look at what was popular on a local playlist.  Inevitably, two things happen: a) I look at WLS from Chicago, since those … Continue reading Great playlists: WGRD’s “Big 30 In the Furniture City,” July 15, 1970

Rest in peace, Ed Buchanan: Jonathan Edwards, “Shanty” (1971)

(Above: Uncle Buck, 1949-2018) The Grand Rapids, Michigan radio dial is a quieter place today. Ed Buchanan, known to generations of radio listeners in West Michigan as "Uncle Buck," passed away this morning from an apparent heart attack. Ed had most recently been hosting a Sunday morning program on WLAV-FM called "Breakfast In the Basement," … Continue reading Rest in peace, Ed Buchanan: Jonathan Edwards, “Shanty” (1971)

Fifty years ago this week in Grand Rapids: The WERX 15+30 Survey (December 6, 1967)

(Above: A bit of this week's chart, typos and all.) The bulk of the research done for my dissertation had to do with looking at original copies of pop surveys from the 1960s. You see these for sale on eBay and at record shows quite often for big stations like WLS and WCFL.  The ones … Continue reading Fifty years ago this week in Grand Rapids: The WERX 15+30 Survey (December 6, 1967)

The Beatles rule(d) the roost: Billboard’s Hot 100, April 4, 1964

(Above: Never before, and never since.) The first week of April 1964 was the peak of Beatlemania.  The group did something never before accomplished in the history of the Hot 100: they held down the top five positions on the chart at the same time.  "Can't Buy Me Love" shot from #27 to the top … Continue reading The Beatles rule(d) the roost: Billboard’s Hot 100, April 4, 1964

Pop charts: WERX, Grand Rapids, Michigan (January 12, 1967)

(Above: Pepper-Uppers, unite.) If there's one thing we can count on in 2017, it's a lot of 50th anniversary retrospectives looking back at 1967.  "Anniversary fatigue" is real, and while I don't want to do a lot of it this year, the problem is that some aspects of popular culture are just too damned good … Continue reading Pop charts: WERX, Grand Rapids, Michigan (January 12, 1967)