Friday, August 05, 2005

Top 5: Taking Care of Business

Thirty-one years ago this week, we were watching the final act of the Nixon drama. I was spending the week with my grandparents, glued to the TV and devouring the newspaper, fully conscious even at age 14 that the resignation was something Americans would remember forever.

The Mrs. tells of being at summer camp and seeing counselors clustered around transistor radios listening for news. And when the news was over, the music came back on. Here are five hits from that week's playlists.

"The Air That I Breathe"/Hollies. In which the singer is so completely satisfied that he can't even think of anything to wish for. A clearly post-coital love song--not that I would have known what "post-coital" meant in 1974.

"Hang on in There Baby"/Johnny Bristol.
A clearly mid-coital love song, far more explicit than "The Air That I Breathe," sufficient to make my 14-year-old self all twitchy every time it came on the radio.

"(You're) Having My Baby"/Paul Anka.
Also post-coital, by several months. Angered feminists because of the possessiveness implied by the pronoun "my." Angered others on purely aesthetic grounds. In all, one of the most reviled records of all time.

"Rock Me Gently"/Andy Kim.
In which one of the uncrowned kings of bubblegum takes one last ride up the charts. A perfect summer record that would reach Number One at the end of September.

"Taking Care of Business"/Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
There was something in the wiring of a 14-year-old boy that made him--me--know for sure that this record was going to be around for a long time. Thirty-one years later, it hasn't left yet.

To hear how Top 40 radio sounded that week, click here for an aircheck from Dr. Don Rose of San Francisco's KFRC, recorded on the morning of Nixon's resignation day. (Be sure to stick around for the newscast.) Rose's schtick is pretty cheesy--yes, that's a slide whistle and cowbell he's using--but it was the '70s, after all.


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