(This post was supposed to run last Friday but I bumped it for whatever we did that day.)
I was pleased a few years ago when Bill Vermillion, “the Weird Beard” from WLOF in Orlando and one of Florida’s legendary jocks, found his way to this blog. Bill was justifiably proud of his station’s playlists—WLOF played the hits, but they were the hits in Orlando, including regional favorites and records that sounded like hits to Bill’s ears and caught fire in town as a result. Like the “jack” stations sometimes say today, they played what they wanted at WLOF, and it must have been a blast to hear. Return with us now to the adventuresome WLOF for another chart full of the unexpected, dated November 9, 1968.
1. “Quick Joey Small”/Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus. “Quick Joey Small” is a bubblegum masterpiece, although it didn’t find its way into the good times/great oldies radio pantheon. I didn’t discover it myself until sometime in the last 10 years, but I’m glad I did—it is, as I have written here before, completely demented, and it completely rocks.
16. “Baby Let’s Wait”/Royal Guardsmen. The Royal Guardsmen are known to most as the people who recorded “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” and its holiday followup, “Snoopy’s Christmas.” But they actually charted seven times between 1966 and 1968 (plus the Christmas record in 1967). “Baby Let’s Wait” was the last one, and it did big business in Orlando before it hit in the rest of the country.
27. “Crown of Creation”-“Lather”/Jefferson Airplane and 36. “Sally Go Round the Roses”/Grace Slick & the Great Society. “Crown of Creation” was one of five singles that followed “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” onto the charts without making the Top 40. The Great Society, meanwhile, was the band Slick fronted before the Airplane, which also recorded “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.” So it’s no surprise that the Great Society’s treatment of “Sally Go Round the Roses” is very Airplane-like, punctuated by a very cool (and very 60s) snake-charmer organ line.
38. “The Eagle Laughs at You”/Jackie Lomax. I have mentioned Lomax in this space before, and how much I like “The Eagle Laughs at You,” on which Lomax is backed by 75 percent of the Beatles (all but John) and Eric Clapton on lead guitar. It’s the flip side of the more famous “Sour Milk Sea,” both of which somehow failed to break into the Hot 100.
Extra: “Billy’s Got a Goat”/Patty Flabbies’ Coughed Engine. The group’s name got my attention, and I wasn’t all that surprised to learn that “Billy’s Got a Goat” is yet another invention from the mind of Joey Levine (lead vocalist on “Quick Joey Small,” above, and other magnificent Kasenetz-Katz productions) and his partner Artie Resnick. Kasenetz and Katz licensed it to another label rather than releasing it themselves, maybe because it didn’t fit the bubblegum brand they were establishing by the fall of 1968. It’s a car song of the type that was already dated by then. Nevertheless, it got some airplay in Detroit on the fabled Keener 13, and would be a top-10 hit in Great Falls, Montana, on the first chart of 1969.
Bill Vermillion died a few years back, and I’m sorry I didn’t correspond with him further when I had the chance. The man had an interesting set of ears.