The Girl in the Control Booth

Here’s another walk through an old Billboard magazine, found at American Radio History and dated May 10, 1975. As before, these are random thoughts as I page through.

Page 1: “U.S. Courts Refuse Dupers’ Pitch: Can’t Copy Pre-1972 Masters, Judges Say.” Two companies were claiming the legal right to market tapes of records made before February 15, 1972. I confess that the ins and outs of the decision as described in the article are a little hazy to me—but the February 15, 1972, date remains significant 40 years later. Sirius/XM and Pandora are involved in legal disputes over whether they should be obligated to pay royalties for playing records made before that date. Also on page 1 is a story about Ampex deciding to get out of the business of pre-recorded tapes. By this, they mean they will stop doing duplications for major labels including London and Brunswick.

Page 3: A company called 2001 Clubs of America intends to franchise “a totally computerized ‘turnkey’ discotheque concept.” The company operates two locations itself, in Pittsburgh and Columbus. Everything is controlled by computer, from air conditioning to music to drink sales. “A professional deejay is not needed,” a spokesman says, “but a girl in the control booth takes requests and puts on the pre-programmed tapes and records.”

Page 4: “A Dead Apple in London: Label’s Staff Gets Pared.” The lede: “Apple Records, for all intents and purposes, has closed down.”

Page 7: There’s a full-page ad for Dyn-o-Mite, the album by TV star Jimmie Walker, on the Buddah label.

Page 8: Alabama Custom Tape, located in Florence, Alabama, was recently raided by the FBI. The company and its owner, Autry Inman (who has made an appearance at this blog before) are being sued for copyright infringement.

Page 20: The Vox Jox column pays tribute to Tom “Big Daddy” Donahue, often credited with inventing progressive FM radio at KMPX in San Francisco. He died of a heart attack on April 28th at age 46.

Page 21: The Great American Birthday Party is “the complete bicentennial celebration package from Dick Orkin, producer of Chickenman and the Tooth Fairy.” It’s a package of “wild and zany features, heartwarming and inspiring dramas, kookie contests, powerful promos, memorable music and jingles and 76 daffy DJ inserts. They’re all packaged into very salable lengths of less than two minutes each.” I’d love to hear some of it, but there’s precious little about it on the Internets other than this ad.

Page 31: We find three different articles about companies getting into home video. Sony’s Betamax unit appears poised to be the market leader, although you’d need a big living room to accommodate it, and up to $2,000 to buy one.

Page 52: “He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You)” by Tony Orlando and Dawn holds at #1 for a second week, tucked in ahead of “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender. There’s one new entry in the Top 10, “I Don’t Like to Sleep Alone” by Paul Anka at #10. “Old Days” by Chicago is new in the Top 40, all the way up at #17. (Apart from “Old Days,” the mightiest leap within the Top 40 is made by Linda Ronstadt, whose “When Will I Be Loved” vaults from #33 to #20.) Only two other songs debut within the 40: “Magic” by Pilot at #36 and “Get Down Get Down” by Joe Simon, the current #1 on the soul chart, at #39. The highest-debuting song on the Hot 100 is “Attitude Dancing” by Carly Simon at #71.

Page 54: On the album chart, Chicago VIII is #1 again this week. Only two albums in the Top 10 have a bullet: That’s the Way of the World by Earth Wind and Fire (moving from #3 to #2) and Bad Company’s Straight Shooter (moving from #12 to #8). The highest-debuting new album is Elvin Bishop’s Juke Joint Jump at #115. The album chart lists 200; Carole King’s Tapestry is in the anchor position, down from #198 the week before, in its 214th week on.

3 responses

  1. One more debut record in the top 40: “The Last Farewell,” by Roger Whittaker.

    That, of course, makes four. Did you notice the four songs that drop out? Or, more to the point, the four artists? John Lennon (“Stand by Me”), Barry White (“What Am I Gonna Do with You”), Ben E. King (“Supernatural Thing”), and Errol Brown and Hot Chocolate (“Emma”). All of whom are no longer with us, and two who we just lost in the last couple of weeks or so. A little creepy, ya think?

    1. Imagine, an error on this blog. That never happened before. /sarcasm font off/

      We are pattern-seeking animals, to be sure. It was about this time three years ago that Robin Gibb and Donna Summer died within a few days of one another, and I remarked at the time how odd it was that two people who ruled the record charts at the same time would pass so close together so far in the future.

  2. This aircheck of WWDC (101.1FM, Washington, D.C.) from 1975 has a Great American Birthday Party clip starting at 2:17:

    There is another Great American Birthday Party clip starting at 7:00 in this aircheck of various Baltimore/DC stations from the fall of 1975:

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