Tuesday, August 5, 2014

WWDJ (Hackensack): Top 40, 1971-1974

WWDJ in Hackensack, New Jersey, was one of the ultimate early '70s stations not only because its lifespan stretched from 1971 to 1974, but also because it had the contemporary post-"Boss Radio" Top 40 sound. As Uncle Ricky over at Reel Radio puts it, it was an "early representative of new school Top 40," featuring no jingles or "big time production elements...The only thing that remained was the music and personality." You can hear up to seven airchecks from DJs including Bwana Johnny on John Porcaro's WWDJ tribute page and take in loads of memorabilia while you're at it.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Mazda Jingle Single

A popular 1973 Mazda commercial prompted a 45 release on Capitol Records by the jingle's writer/ producer Dan Dalton (credited to "The Hummers"). Without previous exposure to the TV ad, I doubt listeners would have fully comprehended "Old Betsy Goes Boing Boing Boing," which featured a confusing narrative scrubbed of any Mazda references. Then again, "Old Betsy" did run on fumes of sexual innuendo, which, during the blue early '70s, might have been enough to push it somewhere near its Billboard peak position of #104 in late '73.

Dalton had been a member of the sixties large-group folk ensemble the Back Porch Majority (formed by the New Christy Minstrels' Randy Sparks). They had a single called "Second Hand Man" that also "bubbled under" no higher than #104 in 1966. Another member of the group, Lois Fletcher, was Dalton's wife by 1973, when he produced her only hit, the Caribbean inflected "I Am What I Am." It reached #64 in Billboard in 1974 and became an even bigger hit in Canada. The label? Playboy Records, which perhaps explains why Dalton plugs Playboy magazine in "Old Betsy."

The Hummers - "Old Betsy Goes Boing Boing Boing" (Billboard #104, entered 8/25/73). Written by Dan Dalton and Larry Rood. Produced by Dan Dalton. 45: "Old Betsy Goes Boing Boing Boing"/"One Good Thing About Being Down" (Capitol 1973). LP: (No album appearance).

Lois Fletcher - "I Am What I Am" (Billboard #64, entered 3/30/74). Written by Richard Kerr and Scott English. Produced by Dan Dalton. 45: "I Am What I Am"/"One More Time" (Playboy 1974). LP: (No album appearance).