Yay! It’s time for that thing so many of you look forward to all week! That one thing you always make time for on Fridays. So while you enjoy whatever it is, why not take along a Top 10 flashback?
This week we’re visiting Cincinnati, where there never was actually a station called WKRP (there is now a TV station there with those calls, however), but, for a brief shining moment, there was a Top 40 station called WYYS, or “Yes 95!” Located at 94.9 on the dial, the station didn’t last long – in less than a year they flipped it to adult contemporary, then changed the moniker to the brilliantly innovative “Lite 95,” making it the station that played favorites of yesterday and today that everyone at work can agree on. “Yes 95!” was truly a flash in the pan, and over the years they adopted many other original and unique monikers such as the Fox, the Wave, the Wolf, and the Sound. Seriously, is there a market anywhere that’s never had a station called The Fox? We’ve had it twice in Detroit, and there would have been a third if the Canadians had allowed it.
Anyhow, WYYS came in third in a three-horse race. They burst on the scene in the summer of ’80, and it was pretty much over by the time we’re looking at, this week in 1981. Hell, the pop music of that time was so coma-inducing that it might have been hard to tell the difference when they did change their format. Let’s all tune in to this forgotten piece of Cincy Top 40 history, then we’ll take a nap.
So believe it or not, it’s just me! Survey dated July 13, 1981.
Stars On 45 – Medley
This is how bad the state of pop music was in 1981 – one of the biggest hits of the year was this group of Dutch studio musicians performing a medley of mostly Beatles songs set to a cheesy disco beat. It actually spawned a few imitators, and the Great Medley Craze of ’81 was on!
Wanna really torture yourself? Click below:
Yes, kids, that’s sixteen minutes of badly done snippets of Beatles songs, bastardized with that fucking looped beat. You get the idea I don’t care much for this?
Stanley Clarke & George Duke – Sweet Baby
I think I remember hearing this. I was in Germany the entire year of 1981, and the only source of stateside pop music was AFN Europe. They must have played it. Stanley Clarke was a well-respected jazz/fusion bassist, and George Duke was known for his keyboard work in those genres. They teamed up and made…this. Excuse me while I smoke some meth.
George Harrison – All Those Years Ago
This was a close as we got to a Beatles reunion. Paul and Ringo performed on this heartfelt tribute to John Lennon. Hands down the best song on this list.
Raydio – A Woman Needs Love
Ray Parker Jr.’s original group, whose best song was “You Can’t Change That” two years earlier. That really isn’t saying much. The only thing anyone really remembers from him anyway is “Ghostbusters,” and I wouldn’t exactly call that a feather in his cap.
Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl
Rick Springfield was known for 70’s bubblegum stuff, Saturday morning cartoons for girls, and “General Hospital,” then he discovered the powerpop sound of the early 80’s and cranked out one of the best songs of the year. He didn’t do a hell of a lot worth hearing afterward, but you need just one all-time classic to pay the bills and put the kids through college.
Hall & Oates – You Make My Dreams Come True
Not bad. Daryl & John were getting their second wind at this time, beginning a three-year string of some of their most memorable hits. They’re still active today and are among the newest members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Joey Scarbury – Believe It Or Not (Theme From “The Greatest American Hero”)
This show came and went while I was overseas. I think AFN-TV might have run it; if so I couldn’t be bothered. I was too busy defending our freedom! Written by Mike Post, who’s done a whole lotta memorable Tv themes. Yes, even this one.
Kenny Rogers – I Don’t Need You
I knew I’d recall this one once I played the video. Not that I really give a shit. Kenny Rogers has accomplished a lot over the years – hell, he even hosted “Jackass”:
Yes, I know that’s from “Mad TV.”
Marty Balin – Hearts
Decent effort from the founder of Jefferson Airplane/Starship and writer of some of their best songs. This one deserves a spot on classic hits radio today.
So now we’ve gotten to this week’s “oh, wow” song. Bruce Springsteen wrote quite a few songs with other artists in mind, and he was a big fan of early 60’s R&B singer Gary U.S. Bonds. Here’s Bonds’s biggest hit, and one of the greatest hits of all time, period, played on an early 60’s Magnavox record changer:
Turntable’s running a bit slow there. Anyway, Springsteen reached out to Bonds around this time and brought him into the studio with Steven Van Zandt and the E Street Band. They made two albums, and this was Bonds’s “comeback” hit. At #12 this week on “Yes 95!”, here’s Gary U.S. Bonds with “This Little Girl.”
Decent stuff. They ought to play it once in a while.
All right, what was number one this week on Cincy’s short-lived “Yes 95!”? I promise this one will go slow…
Honestly? Number one? Fucking THIS? Shame on everyone responsible!
So there you are. Two good songs, two OK songs, five yawners, and that fucking “Stars On 45.” That’s the way it was in 1981. Tell us how you feel!