Six months ago, I shared a set of recordings that I made in 1971 and 1972, of Chicago radio station WIND, AM 560, when they featured their countdown of the biggest hits of the rock and roll era. Here's part of what I wrote at the time:
In 1970, WIND had produced a list of the top 500 hits of all time (well, when they said "all time", they meant from 1955 onwards, it would appear). They aired the entire list, from #500 to #1- before doing so, they had a contest with prizes awarded to whoever (or one of those who could) guess the top ten in the correct order. After the program aired, the list was available at local stores or you could get it by mail, which I did. In retrospect - having studied the Billboard charts my entire adult life, and done my own figuring of the top hits many times over - it's clear to me that the WIND list was based directly on Billboard's rankings, which is as it should be.
The following year, 1971, WIND announced that the list would be expanded to a top 1000, and that they would again play them, from #1000 to #1, starting on an upcoming weekend. There would be no changes to the all time top 10, as no song in 1970-71 had been nearly big enough for that.
What I didn't remember at the time, and what I just recently discovered, is that not only did WIND re-run their entire Top 1000 in November of 1972, but also that I recorded large chunks of that presentation. Not only that, but I think (without immediately going back to listen to the earlier shared tapes) that these recordings contain considerably more of the commercials and newscasts that accompanied the presentation than did the previous share. You can hear these songs anywhere, but those news and sports breaks and commercials are moments in time which are always worth hearing, especially given that the 1972 presidential election was taking place the day after this countdown ended. That election, and the local elections, are covered at length in those newscasts.
The list was the same for both presentations that WIND aired in 1972, although interestingly, there is not really that much overlap between the songs I recorded earlier in the year, and those heard in this set of portions of the countdown. Also, this recording of the countdown has the full top ten, some of which was missing in my earlier recordings/post.
The songs heard here - almost, but not all of them heard in their entirety - are #'s 158-110, #103, #'s101-100, #'s 95-80, #'s 56-34 and #'s 12-1.
The recording exists in my collection on two reels - the first of these reels contains nothing but recordings of the presentation, on both sides of the tape, in monaural - four tracks in all, lasting just moments under six and a half hours - and that's a good thing, because the software I use will not make a sound file longer than six hours and 34 minutes. That limitation means this is probably the longest single sound file I will ever share here. It contains all of the songs mentioned in the previous paragraph except for #'s 12-1:
Download: The WIND Top 1000, November 5-6, 1972
And here is the second tape which I used to capture the countdown, in this case, the very end of that big, long show. Oddly enough, my favorite moment among all seven hours plus that I'm sharing today is a a pretty crazy short news story about the incompetent way that the BBC covered the final game of that year's world series. That segment is heard starting at the 11:15 point in the segment below.
Other than that, I remain deeply impressed by the long-ago tastes of the American radio listener and record buyer. Aside from the songs at # 9 and at # 1 (neither of which do much for me), ten of these twelve tracks are all fantastic records, thoroughly deserving of their massive success (and, I have to add, "Singing the Blues" by Guy Mitchell is simply one of the 10-15 best records ever made). Plus they represent a pretty wide range of styles and genres.
And certainly, this is a list that is almost infinitely better than such a list of the top 12 hits of the 51 years since 1972 would be (a list from the last fifty years would likely include such material as "I'll Make Love to You" by BoyzIIMen, "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey, "You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone, "Candle In the Wind 1997" by Elton John, "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John "Smooth" by Santana, and (God help us), "Blinding Lights" by The Weeknd, none of which will ever stay on my radio for more than ten seconds if I'm physically able to change the station).
Okay, for our "Very Short Reel" this week, I am cheating. 100% cheating. Because this is not the sum and total of any one tape, nor is it a small segment of an otherwise uninteresting tape. But it is quite short, and it is relevant to the material above. For here you will hear Yours Truly, Bob Purse, at age 12 and a half, telling the listener that the show is over and you can "Stop Playing the Tape" now, then going on far too long with the shtick (and proving that one CAN go on far too long in 58 seconds), as well as a tuneless little song . Who, exactly, this directive was aimed at is unknown, but it was probably the same fictional "listener" that was in my mind whenever I was recording and pretending to be the host of a show or to be doing something I imagined other people listening to (as you can hear in this post).
Anyway, here's what's on the tape immediately after the end of the second segment, above.
Download: "Stop Playing the Tape"
And for those who want more than just an imaginary "Bob" to go with the above 58 second recording, here is an exceptionally unflattering picture of me, taken perhaps three months or so after that recording was made, from one of those "four-pictures-for-a-quarter" photo booths. Actually, I think, in this shot, I look like I was just about as irritating a child as I sound like I was in that "Stop Playing the Tape" segment. You can probably use this to scare your kids on Hallowe'en this year.