John Lennon: WHRW interview in 1972
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To paraphrase John Lennon, “so this is the week after Christmas … ” And what do we, who grew up listening to the radio from days of the British Invasion, remember?
What I remember is listening to WABC radio in New York. Each year, starting in 1964 through the last year they played music in 1981, beginning on Christmas day at 2 p.m. with the greatest Top 40 radio disc jockey that ever got behind a microphone, Dan Ingram, and continuing all week through New Year’s Day, they would play the top 100 songs of the year.
They would not have a countdown and play the songs in order from 100 to 1, but just play random songs from the list all week. So, if you wanted to “collect” all the songs and write them down in a book , like I did, you would have to listen for several hours several times that week.
I would be filled with great anticipation to hear where my favorites came out and of course, to hear what the No. 1 song would be. Those of us who were fanatic Top 40 followers like myself would pretty much have a good idea of which song would top the list. Of course, you could “cheat” and send a self-addressed stamped envelope to get an official list with pictures of all the DJs.
What were some of the No. 1 songs? On the very first year-end list in 1964, despite all the songs the Beatles charted and their popularity, our parents were probably delighted that “Hello Dolly” by Louis Armstrong was No. 1.
How about the No. 1 song of 1966? With all the protest songs and folk rock starting, “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” by a real Green Beret, Sgt. Barry Sadler, topped the list.
In 1967? “To Sir, With Love” from a movie starring Sidney Poitier and sung by the young lady making her debut in the film, Lulu (yes, artists went by one name long before rappers came along … remember Cher ?). In 1969? “Age of Aquarius” from the Broadway musical “Hair” by the 5th Dimension was No. 1.
Here are a few trivia questions for you. Remember, looking up answers on the internet is cheating and you will be disqualified (smile).
Send your answers to me at [email protected] for a mention in my next column where I will post the answers.
- What were the No. 1 songs for 1965 and 1968 (both by very famous bands from across the pond)?
- What two members of the 5th Dimension, (husband and wife), went on to have a big hit by themselves in 1977 and what was the title?
- Despite the huge impact of “American Pie,” this depressing song about the singer contemplating suicide was the No. 1 song of 1972. Do you know the title and artist?
Frank Todd is the host of “Todd’s Top 20,” a syndicated oldies radio show heard on over 20 stations around the world, seven days a week. Visit www.franktoddradio.com for info and the schedule. He is also a substitute host on “Music You Can’t Hear on the Radio” on WPRB in Princeton.
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