Top 10 Flashback: March 2, 1979 – KEOS Flagstaff, AZ

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Originally written February 28, 2014.

All right, it’s time once again for that hallowed Friday night tradition that so many people look forward to – six-pack and a blowjob, right?  Not happening for you?  Then just pick up some beer and revel in the throes of a Top 10 flashback!

This week we will visit Arizona again and tune to 690 KEOS in Flagstaff.  The history of this station is pretty convoluted – it started off as a daytime-only station at 1290 on the dial, moved to 690 at some point and broadcast 24/7, was sold in 1981, then again five years later.  Another Flagstaff station at 600 went off the air in 1986, and the station we’re featuring, now called KVNA, moved to the 600 frequency in the 90’s.  So today 690 KEOS is news/talk/sports 600 KVNA; the 690 frequency is still vacant.  Phew!  Let’s rewind this mess and look at the ten most popular songs from the KEOS Super 69 Hit Parade (heh heh heh, heh heh heh, sixty-nine) from the first week of March, 35 years ago.  Yes, thirty-five years ago.

So put on your dancin’ shoes and shake your groove thing, ’cause it’s gonna take a lotta love!  Survey dated March 2, 1979.

#10:
Doobie Brothers – What A Fool Believes

This song was written by Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, and foreshadowed FC and F2’s rants about women and relationships.  “You’re in the friend zone, you fool!  She never loved you!  She will fuck every guy she meets EXCEPT YOU!”  They tried to warn us back then…

#9:
Peaches & Herb – Shake Your Groove Thing

Disco sucks?  Not when it sounds like this.  A fun, funky jam that can still get those feet a-movin’ today.

#8:
Nicolette Larson – Lotta Love

I did not know that this song was written by Neil Young.  He’s always been tough to pin down, and this song coincided with Young’s “Rust Never Sleeps” era.  Nicolette Larson was close to a lot of heavyweights – she was introduced to Neil Young through Linda Ronstadt, sang backup vocals for Christopher Cross and Van Halen (in the same year!), and was maid of honor at Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli’s wedding, but never achieved solo success like this again.  She was only 45 when she died in 1997.

#7:
Little River Band – Lady

Every group has its defenders, as I learned last time I trashed Little River Band here.  Maybe they have some kind of secret stash of good songs that they don’t let out of Australia or something.  Yeah, that’s it.  They only send us the bland, forgettable stuff and keep the good stuff for themselves.  Kinda like the European and Japanese car companies.

#6:
Nigel Olsson – Dancin’ Shoes

Nigel Olsson was the drummer with Elton John’s original band, and took a few stabs at a solo career before clicking with this album.  That was pretty much it, however, and he went back to Elton the following year.  I like this song – why does classic hits radio ignore it?

#5:
Bobby Caldwell – What You Won’t Do For Love

Raise your hand if you knew Bobby Caldwell was white.  All right, put ’em down, you’re all lying!  Hey, he fooled black people, too.  The man is obviously loaded with soul, and turned in a performance here to rival any black R&B artist.

#4:
Chicago – No Tell Lover

Pop quiz, asshole:  What was Chicago’s only album with a real title?  It was this, “Hot Streets.”

Next question:  What was Chicago’s last album that was even remotely worth hearing?  It was this, “Hot Streets.”

So how did you do?

#3:
Bee Gees – Tragedy

The beginning of the end of the brothers Gibb’s disco hit machine years.  This smacks of a contractual obligation – you can tell their hearts weren’t in it.  Naturally, it zoomed to the top because it was the Bee Gees, but in just a year their name would be poison to radio programmers.

#2:
Pointer Sisters – Fire

Well, if Neil Young can write a song that’s tailor-made for adult contemporary radio, why not Bruce Springsteen, too?  He wrote the song in the summer of ’77 with, believe it or not, Elvis Presley in mind, but Elvis had to go and fuck it all up by dying.  Two Springsteen-penned songs reached the top ten in the late 70’s for other artists (“Blinded By The Light” was the other, am I forgetting any?), but Bruce wouldn’t do it himself until “Hungry Heart” the following year.

All right, I’ve been neglecting the “oh, wow” song, so let’s resurrect it this week.  Here’s a song that you won’t hear on the radio any more, but maybe you wish you could.  At #26 this week is one of those mystery instrumentals – you hear it, you like it, and they never tell you what it is.  No lyrics to Google, so that’s out.  What the hell was that song called?  It’s “Music Box Dancer” from Frank Mills.

Another burning mystery solved for you.  Good song, too.  They actually played it on country stations.

So, good people of Flagstaff, da ya think ya remember the #1 song this week in 1979 on 690 KEOS? (Hint: That was a hint.)  All right, here it is:

This was a monster hit, but Rod Stewart was never the same afterward.  Going disco never did anyone’s image any good.  Remember, Queen had a huge #1 hit, then they bit the dust.

Damn, 35 years, huh?  I probably have a high school reunion this year.  They usually do those for anniversaries evenly divisible by 5.  Maybe I’ll actually go this time.  It’s been long enough.

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2 thoughts on “Top 10 Flashback: March 2, 1979 – KEOS Flagstaff, AZ

  1. Tom Iveson

    Former station owner, Jack Bird, won 690 KEOS in a poker game! The station struggled to turn a profit because instead of selling clients air-time, Jack would “trade” for services, like gas and food. Jack even used to visit the station to take the quarters out of the soda machine. Employee paychecks occasionally “bounced” for lack of funds.
    The main rival to 690 KEOS was 600 KCLS. Some deejays (circa 1980) of note were Doctor Dick Raymond (morning drive) Carey Edwards (“tradio” midday) Steve Sapp (afternoon drive), Tom Anthony, and Russ Knight. Other notable personalities included Al Sigala, Dave Allison, Bart Graves, and Barb Cortese. The station engineer was Jon Swett and the mgr was JIM Manley.
    KEOS was located on Huntington Drive in Flagstaff and changed its call letters (1981-82?) to KZKZ for a brief time.

  2. MARK L TRUMAN

    I worked the station in 74-75, Russ Huntington was manager, jon was the engineer. I believe Eric Michael ? was program director. it was located on Huntinton drive in the middle of the field. AP was both the teletype and network feed. While there, jack was involved with some kind of altercation with law enforcement and shortly after we were told the station had been sold. two fellas showed up claiming to be the new owners and essentially gave us all our 90 day notice. Russ and others bailed pretty quickly, Russ going to Sedona I think. he bought a Mexican restaurant there. I moved to Ventura ca and worked radio there until I changed fields.

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