Monday, June 8, 2015

AT40, June 9, 1979 [Part 1 of 4]

My birthday is June 9, so I thought I'd look at the AT40 show from my birthday weekend in 1979 when I turned 13.  I had just finished 7th grade and looked every bit like the goofball I was:

7th grade yearbook photo

Knowing that my birthday was an event not to be missed, Casey Kasem took the week off.  Filling in that week was Los Angeles DJ Bruce Philip Miller of KIIS-FM.  According to Rob Durkee's AT40 book, Miller hosted the show twice: this episode and previously on July 16, 1977.

Let's check out the June 9, 1979 American Top 40 show track by track:

As was the custom back then, the show starts by playing the top three songs from the preceding week: "Love You Inside Out" by the Bee Gees, "Reunited" by Peaches & Herb, and "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer.  So far, so good.  Then it's on with the countdown:

#40: "Good Timin'" by The Beach Boys.  A solid Beach Boys tune that sounded as good in 1979 as it would have 15 years earlier.  The group's hardcore fans liked it, but it didn't hit with the disco-buying public.  I enjoyed this one back then and was surprised to discover that this would be the song's only appearance on AT40, spending just one week in the countdown, peaking here at #40.  Woulda coulda shoulda been a big summer hit.

#39:  "You Can't Change That" by Raydio.  IMO, Ray Parker, Jr. is an underappreciated songwriter, producer, and guitarist.  The baritone vocals of this bouncy song fit perfectly in my vocal range which means my family had to hear my a capella version around the house quite often.  This episode marked the song's debut in the Top 40, it would later peak at #9 in its 14 weeks in the Top 40.

#38:  "Shakedown Cruise" by Jay Ferguson.  I have no memory of this one, but I find it catchy enough. The half-time guitar solo bridge doesn't quite fit but the chorus is good.  This was the song's first of four weeks in the Top 40; it peaked at #31.

#37:  "Does Your Mother Know" by ABBA.  I'm an ABBA fan and I don't care who knows it.  Those Swedes could write some hooks.  This was the song's debut week; it would spend 10 weeks in the top 40, peaking at #19.

#36:  "I Can't Stand It No More" by Peter Frampton.  While I like the chorus, the rest of the song doesn't do much for me.  The verse chord progression reminds me of AC/DC's "Big Balls" (a favorite of mine as a teenager).  This isn't a song I'd seek out to listen to.  Frampton's final Top 40 single, it peaked at #14 in late July.

#35: "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" by McFadden & Whitehead.  Classic Philadelphia International sound.  I remember dancing to this one in the jr high gym.  I can't find any fault with any of it: the great string part floating above a funky bass line played by Jimmy Williams backed up with vocals from The Sweethearts of Sigma.  Immediately recognizable, immediately danceable, immediately classic. "Don't wanna stop, please don't make me stop!"[1]  It was #1 R&B hit and it peaked at #10 on the disco chart.  This was the song's second of eleven weeks in the AT40, it eventually went up to #13 later that summer.

Long Distance Dedication: "Desperado" by Linda Ronstadt.  Dedicated from a woman in Texas to her trucker boyfriend whose CB handle was "Desperado."  As for the song, it's Ronstadt so it's wonderful.   As popular as the song became, neither the Ronstadt nor the Eagles version ever charted in the Top 40.

#34:  "A Little Bit of Soap" by Nigel Olsson.  I don't recall hearing this one before and for good reason - there's not much to it.  I'll take a pass.  The song peaked in this, the song's fourth and final week in the Top 40.

#33:  "When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman" by Dr. Hook.  Now here's some soft rock goodness with just a slight touch of disco.  Right up my alley as 13 year old and I still like it today. This song would spend 16 weeks in the Top 40, peaking at #6 in August.

AT40 Archives: "The Streak" by Ray Stevens.  At the time, AT40 was counting down the #1 songs of the 1970's, so we're treated to three #1's from 1974 during this countdown; this is the first of those three, from May of that year.  Miller proclaims that it was the 100th #1 song of the decade.  A classic novelty tune.  I loved it in '74, my sons loved it thirty years later, and I'll still hear my wife yell, "Don't look, Ethel!!" from time to time.  In the absence of any photographic evidence, this writer strongly denies any allegations that he has ever participated in any streaking activities.

#32: "It Must Be Love" by Alton McClain & Destiny.  I don't remember this disco tune.  Reminds me more than a little of "Best of My Love" by The Emotions. I likes and can't believe it didn't chart higher. It hit #25 on the disco charts, but at #32, this was the song's peak chart position during its 4 weeks in the Top 40.

#31: "(If Loving You is Wrong) I Don't Want to be Right" by Barbara Mandrell.  Country's not really my thing, but the song is soft rock crossover-ish enough that I like it good enough.  Despite her success on the country charts, this was Mandrell's only appearance on the Top 40.  This was the song's peak chart position on the Top 40, but it reached #1 on the country chart and #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

More to come...


  1. The only one I was not very familiar with was #32.

  2. I can tell from the first ten songs plus ancillaries that this is gonna be my kind of Top 40, one in which I like almost all of the songs. Looking forward to the next few days as this thing unwinds... This one might be worth a Hot 100 playlist!

    Seems Spotify is also unfamiliar with #32, Martin.

  3. Major flashbacks to my first summer on the radio. Looking forward to the rest.