Originally written February 14, 2014.
What’s up, loyal readers? Sick of winter yet? (No need for you Californians to answer.) The snow in my backyard is over halfway up the fence, I have fat icicles hanging halfway down my house, and we’re ecstatic because it might warm up above freezing this weekend. You can curse the cold and snow, or you can escape to L.A. with a Top 10 flashback!
If I were in southern California in the late 70’s and had an AM-only radio, the dial would have been welded on 1020 KTNQ (better known as Ten-Q). I have heard airchecks of this station from the summer of ’77, and it was fun, frantic, and rocked harder than you’d expect on AM. In its short life as a Top 40 station, Ten-Q had an impressive roster of air talent: Beaver Cleaver, M.G. Kelly, Charlie Tuna, and The Real Don Steele, to name a few. They played bands like the Ramones when few stations would touch them, and weren’t afraid to take a chance on something new. To go with the hyper format, they played the music astonishingly fast – 4-5% or more. The airchecks I’ve heard are so good, I might have listened even with an FM radio.
The station still sports the KTNQ calls, but it’s a Spanish news/talk station and has been for a long time, owned these days by Univision. Ten-Q didn’t last long – they started doing Top 40 just after Christmas 1976 and it was all over in the summer of ’79. They tried doing it on FM as KHTZ, but it never really took off, although that station is again playing the hits as 97.1 AMP Radio. We’ll go back to the early days of Ten-Q for this countdown – as you’ll see, they hadn’t started getting adventurous just yet.
All right, I made a podcast! Two weeks in a row! Ten-Q had no jingles, and the only source of good airchecks would get mighty upset if I used their content like this, so we’ll put it under the F2 brand this time. I sped up the music crazy fast like Ten-Q did, and take note of the special jingle I made for songs I don’t like! Download it here:
So carry on, my wayward son! Survey dated February 17, 1977.
Sylvers – Hot Line
Gawd, is this song trite or what? An obvious retread of their #1 hit from the previous summer, “Boogie Fever,” I guess it’s fun to hear just for the sake of the memories it might trigger, but if you asked it to stand on its own merits, it’d fall on its ass.
Stevie Wonder – I Wish
From Stevie’s masterpiece “Songs In The Key Of Life.” He was 26 when this was released, had spent half his life in the business, and cranked out a string of classic albums from 1972-76 that few artists can match. He truly is a musical genius.
David Dundas – Jeans On
This started out as a commercial jingle, and it shows. The intro makes me expect “Life Is A Rock, But The Radio Rolled Me,” which would be preferable.
Al Stewart – Year Of The Cat
This is a very good song that you might catch on the radio today. If you do, stick around for the whole thing – it’s worth the time. Produced by Alan Parsons.
Aerosmith – Walk This Way
“Toys In The Attic” came out in the summer of ’75, and Aerosmith had already released “Rocks” by the time Columbia got around to putting this out as a single. Better late than never, I guess. I actually like the Run-DMC version, too.
Eagles – New Kid In Town
I know, overplayed. But songs get overplayed for a reason. “Hotel California” was the Eagles’ magnum opus, and this is the one hit from that album I can still hear without screaming “Jesus Christ, this AGAIN?”
Brick – Dazz
Here’s a challenge: You want to demonstrate what a super badass funk jam sounds like to someone unfamiliar with the genre, but you’re not allowed to play anything with James Brown, George Clinton, or Bootsy Collins in it. What do you play?
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Blinded By The Light
After 37 years, have we finally put the “douche/deuce” thing to rest? I sure hope so. I did have this 45, and I wound up playing the B-side more often:
Dated, ain’t it?
Mary MacGregor – Torn Between Two Lovers
Here’s a challenge: You want to demonstrate what a super lame-ass song sounds like to someone unfamiliar with the concept. What do you play?
All right, let’s do something a little different for the “oh, wow” song of the week, since the remainder of the chart is full of songs that are played daily on classic hits stations, and the couple that aren’t suck out loud. For example, remember the disco version of the “I Love Lucy” theme? It was hitbound this week:
Oh, I’m sorry, did that get stuck in your head?
Anyway, this week’s #24 song is “Do Ya” by Electric Light Orchestra, a song you can hear every day on the radio. Well, before there was ELO, there was The Move, and this original version from 1972 kicks the ELO version’s ass and takes its lunch money. If you’ve never heard this before, click play and crank it – it effing rocks!
All right, now it’s time to reveal the number one song in Ten-Q land from this week in 1977. The anticipation is so thick, you can cut it with a knife. What could it be?
Man, that’s a falsetto to rival Frankie Valli or Lou Christie. For some reason, I really don’t mind hearing this once in a while.
Download this week’s podcast or you will be kidnapped and held for ransom!
All right, let’s discuss how awesome Leo Sayer was!