Monday, February 8, 2021

From AM to FM

Initially, as AM Radio was winding down and FM developed its AOR format (Album Oriented Rock), stations like 93KHJ (AM) in Los Angeles, gave way to Top 40 FM giants like KKDJ. The format was the same, only the songs were new. Here are the top-selling singles on the new old format for 1971: 

My Sweet Lord - George Harrison (3 Weeks at No. 1) Knock Three Times - Dawn (3 weeks)
One Bad Apple - The Osmonds (5 weeks)
Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin  (2 weeks)
Just My Imagination - The Temptations (2 weeks)
Joy To The World - Three Dog Night (6 weeks) – Top American Single of the Year
Brown Sugar - The Rolling Stones  (2 weeks)
Want Ads - Honey Cone (1 week)
It's Too Late - Carole King (5 weeks)
Indian Reservation - The Raiders (1 week)
You've Got A Friend - James Taylor (1 week)
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart - Bee Gees (4 weeks)
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey - Paul & Linda McCartney (1 week)
Go Away Little Girl - Donny Osmond (3 weeks)
Maggie May / Reason To Believe - Rod Stewart (5 weeks)
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves - Cher (2 weeks)
Theme From Shaft - Isaac Hayes (2 weeks)
Family Affair - Sly & The Family Stone (3 weeks)
Brand New Key - Melanie (1 week)
The diversity is inarguable. Soul, Folk, Blues Rock, Bubble Gum
and Funk. Just for fun, let’s look at the top British singles for the same year:
Grandad - Clive Dunn (3 weeks)
My Sweet Lord - George Harrison (5 weeks)
Baby Jump - Mungo Jerry (2 weeks)
Hot Love - T. Rex (6 weeks)
Double Barrel - Dave & Ansel Collins (2 weeks)
Knock Three Times - Dawn (5 weeks)
Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep - The Middle Of The Road (5 weeks)
Get It On - T. Rex (4 weeks)
I'm Still Waiting - Dianna Ross (4 weeks)
Hey Girl Don't Bother Me - The Tams (3 weeks)
Maggie May / Reason To Believe - Rod Stewart (5 weeks)
Coz I Love You - Slade (4 weeks)
Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West) - Benny Hill (4 weeks)

Same kind of diversity, but who? And who? Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” based on its worldwide success, would be the biggest selling single for both 1971 and 1972, but interestingly, The Rolling Stones don’t make it to No. 1, nor do the Bee Gees.

Meanwhile at the top of the album charts in both the U.K. and the U.S. were Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Yes, Isaac Hayes, Led Zeppelin and Lennon; aging teens were turning away from singles as AOR became the staple of KMET, KLOS and WMMR.

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