Sunday, October 1, 2023

Rock Radio October 1973 Witching Hour

While we look over our shoulders at the ghosts of Halloweens past, let’s flip on the studio mic, and do a little Monster Mash

It’s ROCKtober on the Witchy Train to …    

… meet with Wolfman Jack! Whether he figures into the time frame is irrelevant. He was simply the quintessential Halloween Rock & Roll Disk Jockey! You better believe it, baby! Okay, I feel better now. Let’s Rock

OCTOBER 1973 Radio Muse & News  

We start the month with a prolific Philly station survey that boasts a sultry stare on the chart from Ringo. Moving West, Detroit chimes in with a chart indicative of the bigger-than-life art of the ‘70s, and by the time we hit the West Coast, we’re cruisin’ California’s capitol city “K Street,” in humorous Halloween style. Let’s get Rockin’!

October 19th: Ringo’s top tune, “Photograph,” released this day in the U.K., but they were a tad behind the U.S. September 24th release. WFIL/Philadelphia posted Ringo’s photograph in their October 1st survey, with the poignant love-lost song aptly tagged as Hitbound. It was largely written a couple years earlier while Ringo, wife Maureen, and former Beatles bandmate, George Harrison with his wife, Pattie Boyd, were taking a holiday cruise with singer, Cilla Black. While the yacht swayed with the waves, they all put their two cents’ worth in, and a hit was born.

October 24th: John Lennon, another former Beatles member and political activist, was hot under the collar today as he sued the U.S. government for wiretapping his phone. Of course, it was denied, with a feeble excuse that was enough to keep Lennon in check until he attained his green card in 1976.

October 29th: Certainly, the timing of John Lennon’s Mind Games release, his fourth studio album, took advantage of the “bad publicity,” but it didn’t help much. The album fared rather poorly and according to Wiki, even Lennon said, "The ‘Mind Games’ single is fine, but there's just no energy to sustain through the album and there's no clarity of vision. That cover says more than the record to me."  

On Your Tinny Transistor Radio  
Where were you bein’ witchy in
October 1973? Philly, Detroit, NorCal? Here’s a sample of what and who you were listening to …

 WFIL/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ~ Top 30 survey October 1, 1973, gave DJ Jim O’Brien his due with a cover image to show off his Sterling Magazine “Personality of the Month” trophy. From all accounts, Jim was truly an all-around nice guy, soon gaining the same nice-guy reputation in broadcast television, as well as radio. On his jarring, premature death from a skydiving accident in 1983, The Philadelphia Inquirer noted, “He was without a doubt the most-liked man in Philadelphia." That's quite a tribute.

What top tunes did Philly listeners deem the best? Well baby, “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye topped their Top 30 list, followed closely by Grand Funk Railroad declaring “We’re An American Band,” and rounding out the top three … Cher’s “Half Breed.” Rockin’ on, we find …

WDRQ/Detroit, Michigan ~ “The Super Q’s” October 15, 1973, top 25 tunes topped by Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia,” with The Rolling Stones’ “Angie” hot on her heels, followed by apparent audience pleaser, Cher’s “Half Breed.” The survey’s back cover featured Donny Osmond’s latest album Superstar, while the front was simply a lot of sunny, puffy ‘70s psych art.

Was their art the only creative reason to listen to WDRQ? Oh, heck no. They hired great disk jockeys for your music pleasure! Bill Bailey got you primed for work with cash giveaways, like a chance to “rip him off” of a measly $2,000. He was followed by DJ Joey Ryan who kept the midday crowd listening with a trip for two to San Juan, Puerto Rico, pumped with, “… because WDRQ has balls …” Ah yes, the good ol’ days of awesome listener prizes! That brings us to …

For a radio music chart collector like me, a radio prize means finding a print Easter Egg in a survey. Looking for fun band names for the Quirky Band Names feature, I discovered that the “Super Q” had a sense of humor. When it came to researching the band The Dramatics, that included their song climbing the chart at #16, “Fell for You.” The Super Q couldn’t help themselves … they listed it as “Fell for Q.” Good one! Uh-oh girl | I think that I have fell for you   Um, songs aren’t always known to be grammatically correct. And now, it’s time for …

KROY/Sacramento, California ~ October 19, 1973 – Halloween edition! They got into the spooky mood, sorta, with a fun cartoon music chart! Their top three songs are indicative, however, of a not-so-scary, month of music. We again, find Cher’s “Half Breed,” keeping the Allman Brothers’ “Ramblin’ Man” down a notch at #2, and “That Lady” by the Isley Brothers waiting at #3, wondering what to wear for Halloween.  

Remember when we were all quoting the dairy industry’s ad, “Milk has something for every body”? (And skewing it with anything we thought was kitschy other than milk.) KROY/Sacramento’s “Music Power Survey” gave it a plug on their back cover, along with a list of 19 hitbound tunes. Yep, not 15 … nor 20 … 19. Alrighty. It included a couple of future iconic masterpieces like Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and Jim (printed as “Jin”) Croce’s “I Got a Name.”

Monthly Song of Note
We don’t have any “witchy” songs on the charts for SEPTEMBER 1973, although we do have two tunes taking us to the witching hour … but there’s nothing spooky about the love within them. Gladys Knight (& the Pips) took a
“Midnight Train to Georgia” for her man, and Cross Country found love “In the Midnight Hour.” Which one made this month’s Song of Note

We had to go with Gladys. The history behind Midnight Train and the fact it’s charting on all three BFYP Collection surveys, gave it the edge (grabbing #1 at WDRQ/Detroit). Both are great tunes. The song’s history is too long to repeat here, but you can read about it, and suffice it to say it turned out to be a dynamite karaoke song no matter what you know about it.

The piece was inspired by songwriter Jim Weatherly in a phone call with Farah Fawcett, who was packing for a midnight plane to Houston. It had changed by the time Gladys heard it and since she apparently doesn’t like planes, the train ride is perfect for traveling music to accompany her man back to Georgia. It won 1974’s Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus, and has been Gladys’s signature song for decades. And I got be with him | On that midnight train to Georgia | Oh, hey, I'd rather live in his world | Than live without him in mine   

Quirky Band Names

This much beloved band gives Quirky a hearty laugh. As if their smokin’ 1973 hit, “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” didn’t have us guffawing enough (hitting the chart at #25 for WDRQ this month), after an inordinately long research combing through numerous accolades, a Last.FM bio finally told us why the 19-character Brownsville Station opted for such a long name. “… the band's name was chosen because it was so long that it took up most of the marquees that rock venues used in that era, thereby hogging the limelight from whoever Brownsville happened to be playing with.” Now that is funny. Teacher was lookin' for me all around | Two hours later, you know where I was found | Smokin' in the boys' room (Yes indeed, I was)     

Here's a little something I recently noticed ... many have said Boomers and their era are out of touch and not relevant. Tell that to the big pharma TV advertisers. If you sing along with “Oh oh oh Ozempic,” you’re actually playing right into their ploy, using Pilot’s 1975 hit tune, “Oh Oh Oh It’s Magic.” The association magic works, as this page tells us

OCTOBER 2023 Music Events & More    

All month, we can be a little bit Rock & Roll and a little bit Country for Country Music Month! And it’s official—"Little remembered among the accomplishments of Richard Nixon's presidency is this proclamation: in October 1970, Nixon asked the American people to mark October as Country Music Month.” Even a bad president can do some good. Yeehaw! (I couldn’t find an official CMM link, but if you want to celebrate Country Music in October, scroll down the link’s list for fun Country festivals!) 

October 31st: Halloween surely won’t be without yet another day of the “Monster Mash!” Like some ghosts, it just never seems to go away. According to WIKI: “In 2021, nearly 60 years after its release, "Monster Mash" re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 37.” It had already lurched onto the music charts three times prior, for its debut in 1962 when it reached #1 and everyone danced to it for Halloween; reappearing with its ghostly presence in 1970; and creeping in one more time May 1973. Ready to bring it back again? Let’s do it And suddenly to my surprise | He did the mash | He did the monster mash ... It was a graveyard smash  

BFYP Featured Radio Survey  

OCTOBER 19, 1973 ~ KROY/Sacramento, California ~ With an angry spider guarding his web (see it in Featured Surveys), the hand drawn haunted mansion announcement has just one, teeny-weeny little faux pas. It tells you it’s opening October 15th, but doesn’t tell you where …not even on the cover. And I’m not sure what the dinosaur has to do with Halloween, but a rather ugly pumpkin is spoofing song lyrics that were old even for that era. (“Till There Was You,” 1957; even The Beatles’ cover was back in 1962.)   There were pumpkins on the hill | but I never heard them singing Ah well, looks like they had some Halloween fun! We’re scaring up memories … 50 Years Ago this Month in Rock & Roll Radio! Where were you that groovy day when your radio played 

Let’s Celebrate OCTOBER 1973 and Rock On!   

aka: Wicked Witch of the West
BFYP Book 1 (1954-1959) on Amazon        
BFYP Book 2 (Swinging ‘60s) on Amazon 
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LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and author by way of Rock & Roll. Two books (of three planned) are published in her Blast from Your Past series, available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon … Book 3 – The Psychedelic Seventies!

Note: FYI – All links in the BFYP site are personally visited, verified, and vetted. Most are linked to commonly accessed sites of reputable note. Occasionally, since I often feature real people and/or singular sources there may be an unsecured link. As with everything cyber-security, use at your own discretion and risk. No compensation is received for any mentions of businesses, products, or other commercial interests. *All holiday and special event days are found at’s calendar site. Enjoy! 

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