Saturday, March 18, 2023


 Today, I have only a couple of sound files to share, but given that, together, they contain over six hours worth of material, I don't think I'm shortchanging anyone. And I suspect you will cheer these items, if you are among those who enjoy vintage radio broadcasts. In this case, they are from the early 1970's, complete with lots of ads as well as newscasts (well, the longer of the two, anyway), to go along with the music. 

A bit of personal history here. I had a brief flirtation with Top 40 radio around age 10, and still have a very nostalgic love for the hits of the summer and fall of 1970. But in the following years, while most of my peers were likely just starting to become enamored of top 40 radio, and become lulled into a sense of complacency by the dubious charms of the likes of The Carpenters, The Osmonds, Carole King, Chicago, Cher, John Denver, James Taylor and their ilk (I recognize that your mileage may vary on the "complacency" and "dubious" part, but for me, that's only a toe in the barrel of the ecch that was the pop music of the early '70's), I fell headlong into the local oldies station, WIND, 560 on your dial. I found much more to appreciate in the sounds of the 1950's and 1960's than on contemporary radio (although WIND did sprinkle the biggest hits of the day in, here and there), and by the end of 1971, I barely knew any of the current hit songs, but was well versed in music from before I was born. (Perhaps the sole exception to my ignorance of then-current hits, and a record I swoon over to this day, was Melanie's "Brand New Key", which surely says something about me, although I don't know what.)  To this day, my single favorite year for popular music is 1957 - three years before I was born. 

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. I recorded nearly five hours of this programming, along with the ads and newscasts which went with it, over that weekend, including two lengthy portions (#'s 260-233 and #'s 60-7), as well as two brief segments (#'s 93-92 and #'s 2-1). Unfortunately, I missed #'s 6-3 near the end of the countdown, but if I can find my copy of the list among all of the detritus I've collected in 62+ years of life, I will update this post. 

I recorded the 1971 segments at the extremely low-fi speed of 1 7/8 IPS - you will no doubt note some poorly recorded moments and wobbliness to some of the sounds here. 

The following year, WIND updated the top 1000 yet again, and I recorded a relatively short segment of the program during the evening - a period in which there were very few ads and no newscasts, so this segment may be of somewhat less interest if that is the appeal. I captured #'s 33-17 in a 90 minute segment. If you listen to both broadcasts, you will find that no 1971-72 hit song was big enough to enter the station's top 33, as #s 33-17 in 1972 are exactly the same 17 songs as #'s 33-17 in the 1971 broadcast. 

I'm going to share the shorter, and probably less interesting of the two recordings first, even though it came later, and then share the massively entertaining 1971 recording. 

Download: The 1972 WIND Top 1000 (33 Through 17)


And here is the massive, four-hour-51-minute portion of the 1971 WIND Top 1000 broadcast. It starts with about 45 seconds of trying to find the correct station, and then another 75 seconds on a sports talk program, but starting at about the two minute point, the remainder of this massive track is all WIND. Be sure to listen for the point at which my older brother leaned into the microphone and offered a brief critique of the song playing at that moment, which was Santo and Johnny's "Sleep Walk". ENJOY!

Download: The 1971 WIND Top 1000 (260-233, 93-92, 60-7, 2-1)


(A side note: I also recorded some of at least one of these countdowns onto cassette tapes, and if I can find those, I'll share them here, some day, if no one objects to cassettes being offered up on a reel to reel site.)


Okay, you short-tape lovers, I haven't forgotten about you. Here's a one minute radio ad for HBO's cable premier of the movie "Multiplicity", created by a company called "Superdupe". You wouldn't know it from this creative and forceful ad, but the movie in question was neither a critical or box office hit. Maybe that's why they worked so hard to promote it - there was no significant built-in audience.  

Download: Superdupe - HBO's Multiplicity Ad



  1. This really transports me to a time when entertainment came from a tinny portable AM radio. Here's what I learned from the news that day.
    (1:41:44) The Senate is going along with a tough anti-war amendment. The Senate has given its temporary OK when I told the witch doctor I was in love with you.
    (3:06:39) The famous photographer Ansel Adams recommends a Datsun 510 Wagon.
    By the way, if you want a full list of the all-time 1000, you can get a free copy at the record department at any Sears or Korvettes store.

  2. This would have been so enormously grand, if it were only recorded through line in jacks. If those cassettes that you speak of are lined in, then, heck YES, bring 'em on!