Friday, January 05, 2007

Top 5: Teaching the World to Sing

We're keeping it simple today, because I really should be doing work I get paid for instead of blogging for nothin'--here are five notable tunes on WAPE in Jacksonville, Florida, from the survey dated January 5, 1972. And yes, I know I just did a podcast with tunes from December 1971. (You don't like it? Get your own blog.) But it's semi-topical for us to talk about late '71/early '72 again, sort of, given that we discussed CKLW here last week. One of the jocks pictured on the WAPE survey, Teddy "Bear" Richards, was at CKLW when The Mrs. and I were listening to it in the early 80s. As for the Jay Thomas pictured on the survey, I can't tell from the picture if he's the same Jay Thomas who later jumped from radio into an acting career. Probably is. The actor Jay Thomas is probably best known for playing Eddie LeBec, Carla's hockey-goalie husband on Cheers and talk-show host Jerry Gold on Murphy Brown.

So anyway:

1. "Respect Yourself"/Staple Singers. I featured this on that podcast--one of the Staples' most pointed self-improvement messages made even more deadly serious by their funkiest backing track ever.

4. "Drowning in the Sea of Love"/Joe Simon.
This old-school soul record is actually an early Gamble-and-Huff production, but not nearly as slick as the productions that would make them legends at their Philadelphia International label later in the 1970s.

7. "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing"/New Seekers.
Getting right to the point, WAPE lists this on the survey as "Coke Song." Although the song was famously featured in a Coca-Cola commercial, the New Seekers' version of it wasn't. The version from the commercial was credited to the Hillside Singers. Both ran the charts at the same time, however, and both peaked on the Hot 100 during the week of January 15, 1972--the Seekers at Number 7 and the Hillside Singers at Number 13.

17. "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show"/Honey Cone.
WAPE played lots of R&B records that ended up bigger in Jacksonville than across the country, although "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" wasn't really one of 'em. Unlike Honey Cone's two earlier hits in 1971, "Want Ads" and "Stick Up," "One Monkey" missed the national Top 10, however it does feature another of the killer hooks for which Honey Cone was justifiably famous.

21. "Black Dog"/Led Zeppelin.
The WAPE survey shows this as an LP cut, although it was out as a single by this time, from Zeppelin's famous untitled fourth album, which had been released the previous November. Radio stations were clamoring for a single release of "Stairway to Heaven," which Zeppelin was resisting, likely because they would have been expected to edit it down from nearly eight minutes. "Rock and Roll" would come out on 45 also, but there would never be an official single release of "Stairway." The full-length version was pressed on 45s for radio-station use, though.

("One Monkey" is a WMA file. Buy it, and all the Honey Cone you'll ever need, here.)

Recommended Listening: As part of its 365 Days Project featuring one audio oddity every day, WFMU's Beware of the Blog has posted a set of fan-club welcome records from David Cassidy, the Partridge Family, and Leif Garrett, featuring all the crappy fidelity you'd expect from records pressed on cardboard and sent through the mail. The Partridges record is especially precious. Listen as David Cassidy chokes down the bile while performing yet another loathsome fan-club duty! Dig Shirley Jones teasing possible plot developments for the new season! Contemplate how Danny Bonaduce could never have imagined what his life would become!


At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is the same Jay Thomas. I think he's back on the air doing morning drive in New York. He's on Letterman once-in-a-while.


At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There a great story behind WLS playing "Stairway to Heaven." Supposedly John Landecker played at a high school function and was told that WLS wasn't "cool" because they weren't playing "Stairway to Heaven." When Landecker reported this back to WLS programming, they added the song but it was a self-edited version. However, the Music Director had both the edited version and the full-length version carted up. When the song was added, the full-length version ended up being played. ---Shark

At 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a radio station copy of "Stairway To Heaven"
on 45 rpm.


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