Some Kind of Wonderful

(Pictured: Grand Funk, whose “Some Kind of Wonderful” was #6 for all of 1975, equaling the year-end position of “The Locomotion” in 1974. You want trivia, you got it.)

The second half of the American Top 40 year-end countdown for 1975 was officially scheduled for the week of January 3, 1976. Like the first part, it was a special four-hour show. A station running it back then would have had to find an extra hour for it. Not until 1978 would the show go to four hours regularly.

If your local AT40 affiliate repeated the 1975 countdown today, it could be cut up strangely. When Premiere Radio Networks sends four-hour 70s shows to affiliates today, the first hour contains no national commercials, so stations are not obligated to run it. If an affiliate airs the show in a three-hour window, they pick it up at the beginning of the second hour, and the first hour goes unheard. So if a station with a three-hour window were rebroadcasting the eight-hour Top 100 of 1975 show over two weeks, they’d have started the countdown at #88 (the beginning of hour #2) and carried it through to #51, then picked it up again the next week at #36 (the beginning of hour #6).

I made some observations about the first half of this show in an earlier post. Here are a few thoughts about the second half:

—Casey explained why Billy Swan’s “I Can Help” (#44) ends with applause. It seems that Swan’s German shepherd was in the studio during the session, and Swan’s band was so impressed by Billy’s ability to concentrate on singing while the dog was gnawing on his leg that they applauded him at the end of the take. (I suppose that could be true.) Immediately thereafter, Casey played “I’m Not in Love” by 10cc and noted that it spent three weeks at #2, each week behind a different song at #1. A quick look at the charts shows that for the week of July 26, 1975, it slid in behind “The Hustle”; the next week it got leapfrogged by “One of These Nights,” and the week after that by “Jive Talkin’.” Sucked to be them, I guess.

—”Fight the Power” by the Isley Brothers (#29): “And when I roll with the punches I get knocked on the ground / By all this bullshit goin’ down.” Stations generally bleeped the bullshit back in the day, although AT40‘s version on this show edited in a “whoo!” from elsewhere in the song. Although the second half of the show featured a lot of album versions, this mighty groove got only about 90 seconds. (Up at #7, Earth Wind & Fire’s “Shining Star” would get less than that.)

—Two of the five instrumentals on the chart came back-to-back, “The Hustle” (#22) and “Pick Up the Pieces” (#21). Neither is purely instrumental, however, and neither are two of the other three, “Express” by B. T. Express (#59) and “Dynomite” by Bazuka (#52). Only “The Rockford Files” (#85) has no words anywhere in it.

—Casey noted that “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” by B. J. Thomas (#18) broke a record for longest title by a #1 hit, held since 1960 by “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” In 1993, Meat Loaf’s “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” would ace B. J. by one word.

—The syndicated repeats are sent with extra songs, one per hour, that stations can use to fill unsold commercial time. These are occasionally introduced by Casey, but more often by announcer Larry Morgan. Hour #7 of the 1975 show came with what is alleged to be Kraftwerk’s 1975 hit, “Autobahn,” but is in fact a remix with a hip-hop backbeat. Since it bears so little resemblance to the original, its inclusion is quite a howling error.

—Two of the year’s top four singles, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender (#4) and “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell (#2) reached #1 on the country chart. “Rhinestone Cowboy” was the first to top both charts at the same time since Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John” in 1961.

—The year’s #1 single was “Love Will Keep Us Together” by the Captain and Tennille. Casey must have considered them personal friends, given how many times over the years he referred to them as Mr. and Mrs. Daryl Dragon, and the obvious relish with which he recounted their successes.

As I mentioned in that other post, the 1975 show might be my single favorite edition of AT40. It’s as close to perfect as the show ever got, and it maintained that near-perfection for eight hours. But the single most amazing thing about it might be this: how Casey enunciates “biggest hits” perfectly every time. On a family show, you don’t want to go wrong with that.

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