Survey Digging (February 1970)

We’re going to knock around in 1970 again this morning, as it’s been about seven weeks since we looked at a KDWB survey from that year, now a half-century in the past. Here’s the top twelve from the station’s “6+30” survey from February 23, 1970:

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel
“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by the Hollies
“No Time” by the Guess Who
“Ma Belle Amie” by the Tee Set
“Travelin’ Band/Who’ll Stop The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again)/Everybody Is A Star” by Sly & TheFamily Stone
“Venus” by the Shocking Blue
‘Honey Come Back” by Glen Campbell
“Walk A Mile In My Shoes” by Joe South
“Walkin’ In The Rain” by Jay & The Americans
“Arizona” by Mark Lindsay
“Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You)” by Lulu

There are a few memories there. The Lulu record is, as readers might recall, tied to my romantic ambitions of the time, and the Guess Who record – as I noted here about three weeks ago – is tied to a trip to see a Minnesota North Stars hockey game.

The thing that comes back when I ponder “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is my purchasing in early February the sheet music for the Paul Simon-penned song and working to master Larry Knechtel’s brilliant piano arrangement. (I became fairly proficient at it, a proficiency I am attempting to resurrect fifty years later, so my young vocalist friend from church and I can perform it some Sunday. It goes slowly.)

Then, there was a classmate named Jill, who sat near me in French class. In the fall, she would be heading off to St. Cloud Apollo, the city’s new high school, while I would remain at St. Cloud Tech. That spring, she signed my yearbook by quoting the Tee Set’s record: “Ma belle amie! Apres tous les beaux jours je te dis ‘merci, merci!’” (I next saw her twenty years later when she played the role of waitress Trudy Chelgren on the television series Twin Peaks.)

The other eleven entries from the top of KDWB’s “6+30” for that week are just records I heard on the radio. Some I liked a great deal – the records by the Hollies and by Mark Lindsay fall there – and others were just okay, like the A-side of the Sly & The Family Stone record (I did love the B-side) and the Glen Campbell record.

In other words, that was a good hour’s worth of listening. So I ask, as I tend to do, how many of those seventeen records matter fifty years later?

Well, fourteen of those seventeen records are in the iPod and thus part of my day-to-day listening. The absentees? “Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again),” “Honey Come Back,” and “Walkin’ In The Rain.” And I see no need to add them.

So what was at the bottom of that long-ago survey? At No. 36, we find “Take A Look Around” by the group Smith, the follow-up to the hit “Baby It’s You,” which went to No. 1 on KDWB in November 1969. “Take A Look Around” didn’t fare as well, peaking at No. 22 on KDWB’s last survey of March 1970.

(Nationally, the pattern followed: “Baby It’s You” peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Take A Look Around” got to No. 43.)

Here’s “Take A Look Around.” It’s a decent record.


One Response to “Survey Digging (February 1970)”

  1. Val H. Says:

    That Top 12 list took me right back to my last year at university. Especially “Venus” by Dutch band Shocking Blue, although it’s not a particular favourite of mine, just one of those songs that defines a time and place. I have a clear memory of the first time I heard “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. I grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and as a land-locked country in southern Africa with a host of political woes, keeping up with popular music wasn’t always easy. However there was one particular radio show that went out about mid-day on Saturdays where DJ Martin Locke played the latest from the UK and US. I was driving my mother around town in my little 1960 VW bug when he played the new S & G song. It’s a wonder I didn’t crash! The song was so different, so uplifting, so perfect. Shops closed at 1 o’clock on a Saturday then so it would have been early Monday morning before I queued outside Radio Ltd so as to order the L.P. I was already a rusted-on S & G fan (“Bookends” will always be my all-time favourite album) but “Bridge Over Troubled Water” took them to new heights. The week I turned 60 (June 2009) was a special one – Simon & Garfunkel were playing in Melbourne – here at last was my chance to see these greats. I went by myself and got the best seat in the house – over $240 US dollars by today’s exchange rates – and it was wonderful. Artie’s voice wasn’t as good (hey, we’re all a lot older) but Paul was excellent and it was a magical night. The set-list is at:
    My other memory was waking up the next morning to news of Michael Jackson’s death. I was glad the news hadn’t broken before the S & G concert in case the suddenness and unexpectedness might have cast a pall over the show. I still consider myself so lucky to have seen them and I still love “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Thank you for the memories.

    P.S. I also got to see Glen Campbell here not long before he quit touring (also 2009). Although his Alzheimer’s had not been made public, you could tell something was wrong. He needed lyric sheets even for “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and needed help from the band and his daughter to find the right key. But the part of his brain controlling his guitar playing was completely unaffected and he amazed us with how nimble his fingers were. It was a disappointingly small audience that night but we sensed his difficulty and cheered him on, thanking him for over 40 years of magic. “The Legacy (1961–2002)” box-set is one of the treasures in my CD collection.

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