Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Less Than Thrilling 1979

This past weekend, the installment of AMERICAN TOP 40 - THE 70s that was beamed across the country was this episode from May 19, 1979. As I believe I have mentioned, the show runs three hours, so this four hour episode was necessarily truncated. The "Top 40" began at #32, although some material from the first hour found its way into the "extras".

The thing that struck me the most about this show was how...uninspiring most of the music was. Take a look at that list from #32 onward. Does it scream "must listen" to you? There are a few classic rock standards, including the then-minor hit, now heavily overplayed "Old Time Rock and Roll". There are a few disco classics, like "Knock on Wood" and "Hot Stuff". And then there's "Chuck E.'s in Love" and "Heart of Glass", two songs that have nothing in common except that they are sung by women.

But mostly, the countdown is a collection of more obscure songs from some acts, and tunes from largely forgotten artists. I mean, I had to look up who Roger Voudouris even was, which makes the anecdote Casey related about him intending to be around for a long time even more poignant. I'm not poking fun at the guy, since he has since passed away, but that story screamed ego and it was highly misplaced in retrospect.

To me, the most amazing revelation of this show was that there was a period in time when Sister Sledge had two songs in the Top 40 simultaneously. Don't get me wrong - I like 'em! But, when I think of bands that are popular enough to place two highly-ranked songs (#9 & #13) on the chart at the same time, they would not even have been my fifth choice. I mean, Sister Sledge?

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