Top 5: It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
Jumping off from Wednesday night's post, here are five of the tunes we played the hell out of on classic rock WXXQ in Freeport, Illinois, during the summer of 1980:
1. "Coming Up"/Paul McCartney. An odd little single, not released on a McCartney album until the 1990s, and one of his biggest solo hits, although you don't hear it much anymore.
2. "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me"/Billy Joel. The second single from Glass Houses, an album I hated with a great deal of vehemence in 1980. I felt there wasn't a single tune on it (except maybe "Sleeping with the Television On") that compared favorably with anything on either The Stranger or 52nd Street.
3. "Emotional Rescue"/Rolling Stones. Great excitement around WXXQ the day this album came in. Then we dropped the needle on this, and thought Mick and the boys had lost their minds.
4. "Against the Wind"/Bob Seger. The Against the Wind album isn't as good as either Night Moves or Stranger in Town, but this might be Seger's prettiest song.
5. "Rough Boys"/Pete Townshend. Yes, the inexplicable "Let My Love Open the Door" was a big single that summer, but this is the cut from Empty Glass that got album rock airplay, and we played it to death. But does anyone play it anymore?
Honorable Mentions: "Walks Like a Lady" by Journey, "Misunderstanding" and "Turn It on Again" by Genesis, and something by Cheap Trick called "Everything Works If You Let It." Freeport was just up the road from Cheap Trick's hometown, Rockford, Illinois, which may have to be explanation enough for why we devoted airtime to so minor a hit.
But that summer at that station was more about classic rock oldies than current hits, anyhow. It wasn't unusual to play "Stairway to Heaven" or "Aqualung" twice in a six-hour shift. The PD told us that as a new station, we'd have lots of listener sampling going on, so we needed to sound our best as often as possible. Maybe that was true--but it still didn't make up for "Everything Works If You Let It."