Tuesday, June 10, 2014

AT40, September 18, 1982 [Part 1 of 8]

I recently celebrated a birthday and as a gift, received a set of 4 LPs and cue sheets from American Top 40.  As an unabashed fan of Casey Kasem and the show, this was a real treat.  I'm just hoping that the compulsive completist in me doesn't take over and I have to purchase every set I can get my hands on.  Currently, these sets are fetching around $30-$50 on secondary markets; episodes with guests hosts or special countdowns can demand 10 times that amount.

I received program #823-12, which was intended for broadcast during the weekend of September 18-19, 1982.  A 1982 program was selected because I've often referred to that year as the greatest single year in the history of pop music.  At that time, I was living in the Houston market where, if memory serves, AT40 was broadcast at 10 AM on Sunday mornings - a time that didn't work out well for a preacher's kid like myself.  So before I headed off to church, I rigged up a timer to a cassette player, hit play/record and hoped for the best.

This series of posts is going to look at each side of the 4 LPs included in the set.  To make things easier for the radio station personnel, the sides aren't consecutive.  I'm not sure if this was standard, but my set is sided like this:
Disc 1: 1A/4B (the first and last sides played)
Disc 2: 2A/3B
Disc 3: 3A/1B
Disc 4: 4A/2B
Today, we examine side 1A (complete cue sheets available here).  For reasons of time, AT40 would often shorten songs by removing a chorus or verse, so with each song, I'll give a comparison of the single time to the approximate playing time the song received on AT40 that week. Each side includes 3 segments, which include Casey and music followed by national ads, and space for local ads.


All sides start with a test tone, which startled me simply because I'm not accustomed to hearing that tone after the needle drops.  After a brief intro that recognizes sponsors Frito Lay and Activision, Kasey comes in, thanks Lee Sherwood for filling in the previous week, and begins with a recap of the top 3 songs from the previous week's countdown.

Last week's #3: "Abracabra" by the Steve Miller Band: single length 3:35/AT40 playing time 3:31
Last week's #2: "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor: 3:45/3:38
Last week's #1: "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago: 3:42/3:38

Casey teases that the first 4 songs in the countdown are all debut songs, followed by a jingle.  30 second Activision ad for the video cartridge Pitfall, followed by 90 seconds of time for local ads (there's not an actual 90 second break on the LP).


So, almost 15 minutes into the show, we start the countdown. Casey introduces the #40 song by recounting all the times it has previously hit the charts: 
Everly Brothers, 1960 (peaked at #7)
Betty Everett and Jerry Butler, 1964 (peaked at #5)
Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry, 1969 (peaked at #36)
#40: "Let It Be Me" by Willie Nelson (peaked at #40): 3:26/3:26

30 second ad for Trident (complete with the "4 out of 5 dentists" claim), followed by a 30 second ad for Stay Free Maxi Pads with Cathy Rigby, followed by 60 seconds for local ads.


"AT40 originates in Hollywood." Casey gives a little background on this 6 man band from Sacramento making their debut with their first Top 40 single.

#39: "You Don't Want Me Anymore" by Steel Breeze (peaked at #16): 3:27/3:09

Casey recaps Barry Manilow's recent chart success and gives credit to the song writer Shakin' Stevens.

#38: "Oh Julie" by Barry Manilow (peaked at #38): 2:14/2:10

30 second ad for the U.S. Navy: "It's not just a job, it's an adventure."  60 seconds allotted for local ads and 10 seconds for station ID.

click to enlarge


  1. Well, this is going to be fantastic.

    I'd like to hear the Lee Sherwood show. Although he's not especially well-known anymore, he was one of the great programmers in the history of radio, and a highly successful DJ, too.

  2. Mark, this is awesome. I was a huge AT40 fan - listened every weekend. I still love catching the rebroadcasts on 70's On 7 each week.