Cast my memory back there Lord

Back in the day, before my parents went full metal totebagger and permaset the radio to NPR, I used to enjoy listening to a lot of 70s radio, both around the house and on family trips. This was in the time (the 70s, duh) when there was AM and FM radio. I still don’t understand the difference, except that AM has longer range and FM clearer reception (that’s right, isn’t it?), but I went to a great “AM Gold” show with my sister at Tony Starlight’s in Portland. They did a lot of Billy Joel, Elton John, and Neil Diamond, along with some gems like “Rock Me Gently”. It all sounded very 70s AM to me, but I don’t know…how was 70s AM radio different from FM radio? Did they play different songs? Or do people just like to say “AM radio” because they think it sounds cool and evocative.

And what’s your favorite distinctively 70s song? I’ll go with a two-way tie between Midnight at the Oasis and It Never Rains In Southern California.

282 replies
  1. 1
    General Stuck says:

    FM waves follows a straight line from emission. AM bounces around all over clouds and shit.

  2. 2
    Superking says:

    AM is amplitude modulation, FM is frequency modulation. If you like of a radio signal like a sine wave, amplitude is the distance from zero to the peak of the wave. AM signals vary their amplitude to distinguish signals. FM by contrast has a constant amplitude, but varies the number of waves that occur in a specific amount of time. Somehow, I know all that and it still doesn’t make sense to me.

    Doug, isn’t it time you changed your name? MMBDJ is a little stale now . . .

  3. 3
    Earl says:

    Leaving on a Jet Plane…and I’m suddenly in a green 1971 Ford LTD on the outskirts of Phoenix…

  4. 4
  5. 5
    PaulB says:

    For “distinctively 70s,” you just about have to go to disco, and I refuse to go there.

  6. 6
    Schlemizel says:

    In the late 60’s early 70’s FM was the home of ‘underground’ rock. Hendricks, Joplin, King Crimson. AM was the 1910 Fruit Gum Company, the Osmonds ‘teeny-bopper’ rock.

    That divide remained until Disco pissed on both of them.

  7. 7
    General Stuck says:

    And what’s your favorite distinctively 70s song? I’ll go with a two-way tie between Midnight at the Oasis and It Never Rains In Southern California.

    The 70’s was an epic cross over decade for music and culture, as a backlash to the excess of the 60’s. At the beginning we were listening to Woodstock, and the end Donna Summer. Of course, there was a lot in between those huge opposites. I’d have to go with the middle space, imo, for something Afternoon Delight. Starland Vocal Band. That sort of melded the the first and last part of the 70’s. Plus it has some pleasant personal memories attached.

  8. 8
    nastybrutishntall says:

    Emotional Rescue.

    Stones doing disco. Nuff said.

  9. 9
    AnonPhenom says:

    1. FM had stereo
    2. FM played songs longer than 3 minutes.
    3. FM….Success!

  10. 10
    kdaug says:

    “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”. Station wagon headed out of Billings. Going to see some stupid geyser thing.

    Smoking dad wouldn’t roll down the window.


    But weird that you mention it, ’cause I was just playing this yesterday.

    (The wife was not amused, but once in a while I reckon I’m allowed some dancing with the dogs).

  11. 11
    Napoleon says:

    Whether AM is longer range I think depends on atmospherics. At night on the right conditions and bounce you can listen to Chicago or Toronto’s 10k watt clear channels.

    As to what they played in the 70s a decent number of FM stations went AOR (album oriented rock). Stations like WDVE in Pittsburgh or WMMS in Cleveland. They would play stuff that wasn’t necessarily singles, like The Last Resort by the Eagles and stuff like that while AM remained single pops and stuff from past eras like Big Band or Polka.

  12. 12
    nastybrutishntall says:

    Also, disco is amazing. Shut up, olds.

  13. 13
    JAson says:

    Afternoon Delight by Starland Vocal Band

  14. 14
    Paul in KY says:

    AM radio was more top 40 & pop. The FM stations were where you heard your Led Zeppelinzes & Pink Floydzes.

  15. 15
    Ed in NJ says:

    Mine are the following:

    The Night Chicago Died
    Billy, Don’t Be a Hero

    and of course the poignant animal death tunes:

  16. 16
    PaulB says:

    What I remember from that time is that FM was stereo and AM was mono. And that AM, because of its greater range and more diverse audience, played a lot of non-offensive pop, while FM stations were free to be a bit edgier and often showcased local talent.

    The consolidation of the airwaves did not do local radio any favors.

  17. 17
    Violet says:

    Anything from ABBA.

  18. 18
    lgerard says:

    FM had the ability to broadcast in stereo, and its rise in popularity had much to do with the availability of stereo recordings in the late 60’s.

    While FM was once the forgotten backwater of classical music, hippies started to take over FM to play almost any kind of music other then what AM played. Every town had its “underground” station.

    In the mid 70’s, license holders figured out that their FM license was worth as much as the AM one, and the slow death spiral began with playlists and formats.

    This is actually a case of where the old days were pretty awesome

  19. 19
    r€nato says:

    Hotel California

  20. 20
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    No static at all…..

    I think it was Slate that ran one of those personal essays on Steely Dan, and the author talking about how that group, Springsteen’s early long stuff, etc was typical of FM when AM music was more top forty, poppy, commercial stuff. By the time I really started listening to music on my own (late 70s), it was all FM and AM was pretty much news/talk.

    also, too, Everclear.

    ETA: more FM than AM, I guess, but to me the most 70s lyric ever is “I come so together where you”

  21. 21
    Napoleon says:

    And what’s your favorite distinctively 70s song?

    Shoot from the hip/top of my head, Smoke on the Water.

  22. 22
    Joel says:

    Radar love…

  23. 23
    kuvasz says:

    Epitome of 70’s AM rock? America’s “Sister Golden Hair.”

  24. 24
    Scuffletuffle says:

    All Around My Hat, by Steeleye Span. The beginnings of a lifelong love affair with Maddy Prior’s voice.

  25. 25
    wrb says:

    Stevie Wonder

  26. 26
    kdaug says:

    And, also, too, what was that stupid shit about muskrats in love?

    Who gives a fuck about muskrats?

  27. 27
    r€nato says:

    I recall that as the 70s wore on, AM radio gradually receded as more and more folks had FM radio available in their cars; it went from a niche for classical music audiophiles who could afford an expensive, standalone FM receiver to the mainstay of radio for rock and pop.

    (transistor radios, the ur-Walkman/iPod of the day, only received AM radio anyway).

    Some stations simulcast on stations which were in the exact same place on the AM and FM dials so they were easy to find when flipping between bands.

    AM is just fine for voice but it’s really crappy for music because FM’s relatively strong, clear signal overwhelms the noise and static typical of AM signals. As album rock began to overtake pop (and recording artists started paying more attention to how their music sounded/was recorded, rather than just churning out pop hits), sound fidelity became more important. Especially to all those stoners listening to later Beatles recordings and Led Zep on their headphones.

    I am venturing a guess here but I think that advertising plays a role too. AM radio covers a large area (generally, depends on the license of the station) and is more suited to deep-pocketed local and national advertisers. FM radio covers a smaller area (its coverage can be augmented with FCC-licensed repeaters); I would think that its popularity was also aided by the ability for smaller local businesses to advertise to more-targeted audiences. Could be full of shit on that one though.

  28. 28
    Punchy says:

    before my parents went full metal toteLimbaughbagger

    Fixed for my situation.

  29. 29
    Schlemizel says:


    Those clear channel stations (WCCO, WLW, WLS and others) were 50,000 watts & had no other stations in the US on their freq. WCCO regularly got reports of listeners the old Soviet union.

    I learned about real rock and roll from WLW which was played the original black artists while the local stations played Pat Boone monstrosities. Late at night in the hot hot summer before AC. the radio turned down low so the folks wouldn’t hear. My ear pressed against the voices of Fats Domino and Little Richard.

    Not sure if KAAY from Little Rock was clear but “Bleeker Street” and “Bleeker Theater” became a regular Saturday stop for music you could not find on regular radio. First place I ever heard Alice’s Restaurant and Jack Johnson On the Titanic – “But ya gotta let it OUT Captain!”

  30. 30
  31. 31
    Butch says:

    One of the big AM stations in Chicago – I don’t remember the call letters – had a Sunday night special called Subterranean Circus that introduced me to a world of music beyond top 40.

  32. 32
    joeyess says:

    Green-Eyed Lady – Sugar Loaf and Use Me (Up) -Bill Withers.

    Oh, and to my recollection, AM radio wasn’t stereo and had “hard breaks” at the top and bottom of every hour….. just like today’s AM hate radio. Same format, only with semi-shitty, mono music. Well, ok……. same format. Whereas, FM was more listener focused and less commercial. Extended cuts and everything in stereo. Even if the recording itself wasn’t, it was broadcast that way…. A softer, more rounder, compressed sound over it’s AM static-white-noise rival.

  33. 33
    Biff Longbotham says:

    Do You Feel Like I Do, from Frampton Comes Alive

  34. 34
    pete says:

    What, no Fleetwood Mac?

  35. 35
    Schlemizel says:


    Yes, that is it exactly!

    Of course I will never be able to forgive you for linking to the P word!

  36. 36
    Xenos says:

    ‘Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves’ (no Oxford comma, go figure) and I am six years old with my coloring books, rocking out at the kitchen table, the midwinter light coming the picture window just so.

    FM was two channels at once, so you could get stereo. We got that on the HiFi, mostly classical music until the mid-70s, when you could get stereo on our car radio. The Pontiac station wagon just had am, which would cut out whenever we drove under a bridge.

    I also remember the agony of being home sick and having nothing but soap operas on TV from 9:00 to 3:00, except for the Spiderman cartoons on channel 38 (Springfield) that I could never quite tune in to…

    Xenos +0, just trying to concentrate on AIFMD and failing miserably.

  37. 37
    trollhattan says:

    Yup, FM has greater signal-to-noise ratio and far greater frequecy range. To approximate AM, put a pillow in front of the speaker and turn on the shower.

    FM had zero commercial value well into the ’60s, but stations bought licenses and sat on the frequencies, usually simulcastiong their AM signal. Then HIPPIES got hold of an FM station and kicked off a revolution. Thank Tom Donahue.

    It didn’t last long but it was glorious, right up to the point corporations realized “Hey, we can make MONEY off this thang!” FM died the day KSAN in SF switched to country.

  38. 38
    DougJ says:


    They did Say You Love Me.

  39. 39
    Lee Rudolph says:

    @PaulB: At some point way back then, a useful mnemonic was AM: American Music, FM: Foreign Music.

    Well, maybe tendentious rather than useful. \/\/hatever.

  40. 40
    r€nato says:

    @trollhattan: my father had the chance to buy into an FM radio station – a small one – in the late 60s… oh how my life would be different had he had the foresight to do so. Nowadays, of course – and for at least the last 20 years – an FCC broadcast license of ANY sort is a license to print money. Back then, few could see the potential in this curious broadcasting niche which appealed only to classical music nerds.

    Much the same could be said of UHF TV stations…

  41. 41
    the Conster says:

    Ziggy Stardust, Close to the Edge (Yes) and Bonnie Raitt, Give It Up.

    I’ve got my Frye boots on, a long shag and all my clothes smell like, well, you know.

  42. 42
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot and “Please Come to Boston….”

    I bet we could get into a heated blog fight about the fine distinctions between crap rock, wuss rock and state fair rock (h/t Marge Simpson). But Bernard Finel and Keith G would no doubt find us frivolous and unworthy of blog space.

  43. 43
    gogol's wife says:

    We’re talking good music? Has to be BeeGees.

  44. 44

    Marquee Moon and Rappers’ Delight.

  45. 45
    kindness says:

    I switched because it was time. Probably because my older brother and I got a clock radio with AM & FM. Probably because my brother made the switch and I didn’t care. The rock I was listening to was more on FM than AM so….it was time.

    Now, Well I listen to AM radio when I want to hear Giants games on the radio. Otherwise I’m pretty much FM only now and even that is becoming impacted by my ipod in the car. Yea, no commercials is nice. Never hearing a bad song is nice. I do miss actual humans though on occasion. Most times, not so much.

  46. 46
    gogol's wife says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Jim Croce, yeah!

  47. 47

    FM also propagated the Album Oriented Rock (AOR) stations around the country. AM stations gave you individual songs played by a real live DJ, on FM AOR stations you would get entire album sides (if the the entire album) played by a real live DJ. Radio has been taken over by corporate monsters and pretty much sucks. Period.

    These days I listen to public radio stations when they have local programming on and that is about it. One of my favorites is KUNM out of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. They have quite a bit of local programming and the Overnight Free Form show can be excellent. Most commercial radio stations are just clones of any radio station you can listen to anywhere else in the country without a hint of where they are broadcast. That might have something to do with DJ’s being handed playlist corporate know nothings. But then you can never lose money underestimating the musical taste of the American public.

  48. 48
    raven says:

    Camped on the beach in Guaymas. We carried a nice stash of red leb, it was pretty safe carrying headed south but not north. We were camped on the bay where they filmed Catch-22, MGM owned it but they didn’t mind hippies hangin. We’d get a radio station out of San Diego and it would blast for about two minutes and go silent for 30 seconds. We din have no stinkin tapes or no shit like that so we just “let it groove in it’s own way”. Hell of a trip.

  49. 49
    techno says:

    John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero”

    Proof that the early 70s can be safely lumped together with the 60s.

  50. 50
    Misterpuff says:

    Previous comments pretty much limned the divide from AM to FM.
    In early 70s, FM still free-form, but by ’75-’76, playlists were starting to tighten up and sound honed to AOR, more commercialized and controlled (see WKRP in Cincinnati).
    But, during that time, the rock canon was codified and buffed and it was good. The trailblazers of the 60s were still represented and rock gods pummelled the speakers.
    You wouldn’t know it from today’s Classic Rock formats, but Joni Mitchell , The Sweet, and Leo Sayer tracks were spun along side dollops of The Who, AC/DC and Zep.
    Of course, Clear Channel took over the radio and the concert business in the 80s and then MTV flipped the dominance of radio and so it goes….

  51. 51
    Ted & Hellen says:

    What is the purpose of these types of posts?

    Use google, for god’s sake.

    And no, I’m not sorry.

  52. 52
    scav says:

    @kdaug: NO idea about those dratted muskrats, but we had ffffaaaaarrrrr too much of them driving to the fishing cabin with the grandparents. And Umpop making up words to something about dimestore dowboys while my glasses melted in the back window (broke right at the bridge when I put them on). Did I buy Werewolves of London and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boys on 45s the same summer? hard to remember.

  53. 53
    justawriter says:

    No love yet for my favorite Canadians, The Guess Who?
    American Woman
    These Eyes
    No Time

    The anthems of my adolescence.

  54. 54
    trollhattan says:

    Mercy. Hard to believe they were once worth basically nothing, broadcasters collected the licenses just in case something might break later. Good plan, that.

    IIRC they actually had to broadcast, if only intermittently, to keep the license valid and not lose it. Seem odd today but some licenses were limited as to broadcast times, with e.g., sundown or midnight signoff times.

  55. 55
    raven says:

    Greatest radio ever

    “Who remembers the old “Super Roper” station KOKE FM – 95 point something on the radio dial? Coming from Dallas to Austin in the early 70’s we had nothing like this station. What a mix of music. You could here a set of Willie, Michael Murphey, Leon Russell, Bob Dylan then from nowhere a Frank Sinatra song?!?! I remember the 10 to 2 DJ “Joe Gracey” he was fantastic and always funny! I remember his sign off was bluegrass “Turkey in the Straw” while he pontificated old time sayings, “Don’t take no wooden nickels”, “Drink lots of water”, and ended with “Stay off your feet and come when you can”.

  56. 56
    jlow says:

    Tony Starlight’s is a great club. I don’t know of any other venue (aside from old school royalty like the Rainbow Room that are also a tourist destination) that pulls off the dinner theater show the way that place does. They pull it off in a terrible location with bad mojo to boot. That space has been an Irish bar, gay bar, rock n roll club (a drunk off duty police officer once drove his car through the front door and got off without charges), and something else in the 10 years before it became Tony Starlight’s.

    And 70’s AM radio means the Carol Channing Show and the Johnny Cash song about stealing a Cadillac one piece at a time to me, but that’s just because I grew up in a hick town where even the AM radio went dead at 6pm (Unless there was a high school football game).

  57. 57
    JustAnotherBob says:

    AM was heavily programmed “big business” radio. Three minute songs, play three, blast out a lot of ads.

    FM stations could be bought for a lot less money and that made room for more creativity. The FM free-form stations that sprang up around the country played the rock that the AM stations wouldn’t.

    The higher quality of FM and the availability of affordable FM grid let FM take over the music business from AM and soon the free-form stations started being replaced with versions of what business played on AM.

    The wonderful days of KSAN and KPIG when they were at their peak….

    Thinking about it, both KSAN and KPIG stayed wonderful well into the ’80s. I bought a house in the Sierra foothills in 1980 and listened to both in that house for a few years.

  58. 58
    trollhattan says:

    @Ted & Hellen:
    Oh, pretty sorry, one might say.

  59. 59
    rael says:

    Ramblin’ Man

    over and over and over and over. just like phil fucking collins in the early 80s…

  60. 60
    Svensker says:


    I learned about real rock and roll from WLW which was played the original black artists while the local stations played Pat Boone monstrosities. Late at night in the hot hot summer before AC. the radio turned down low so the folks wouldn’t hear. My ear pressed against the voices of Fats Domino and Little Richard.

    Similar sitch. My dad loved fixing and making radios, so we had all kinds of crazy big radios with lots of dials with all different bands. In Seattle late at night I could pick up stations from all over the western hemisphere and listened to some fabulous stuff. I remembering calling our local A.M. top-40 station and asking them to play a crazy song called “King Bee” by some wild new group called “The Rolling Stones” — the DJ said, “well, if they’re any good, we’ll hear of them eventually.”

    There were “race” stations, too, that played only black artists. They’d play the Motown stuff weeks before the top-40 stations would put it in rotation.

    I loved listening to those far away stations, feeling like a voyager in audio space, hearing great, exciting music, alone in my room in the night.

  61. 61
    gogol's wife says:

    “Camarillo Brillo”?

  62. 62
    Napoleon says:


    Those clear channel stations (WCCO, WLW, WLS and others) were 50,000 watts & had no other stations in the US on their freq. WCCO regularly got reports of listeners the old Soviet union.

    I learned about real rock and roll from WLW which was played the original black artists while the local stations played Pat Boone monstrosities. Late at night in the hot hot summer before AC. the radio turned down low so the folks wouldn’t hear. My ear pressed against the voices of Fats Domino and Little Richard.

    50,000 watts – whoops, my mistake – I was going from memory.

    As to your second paragraph, it reminds me of something I have read about the Beatles and other early British Invasion bands. BBC did not play blues or rock and roll so they had to smuggle radios to bed with them to listen to Radio Luxembourg, which was basically the pirate radio of its day, and that is how all those bands were introduced to that type of American music.

  63. 63
    The Golux says:

    Too many to mention, but Steely Dan’s “Peg” and Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes” come to mind pretty quickly.

    And I don’t know “distinctly ’70s” it is to others, but Little Feat’s “All That You Dream” is my favorite Feats song ever, from an album whose production values have been rarely matched since. I guess the best Feats song for this category would be “Dixie Chicken”, which is in my Feats top three.

  64. 64
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Hey BJ Kool Kids:

    Why does the sky look blue when the sun shines? Have you noticed that it does?

    And sometimes, when clouds gather, the sky looks gray. Why is that? Do you know?

    And even more strangely, sometimes as the sun goes down in the evening, the sky looks to be many different colors, at least here where I live. Does anyone know why that is?

    What is your favorite color of the sky? Blue? Gray? Orange? And depending on which one it is, why? Do you know why?

    Or maybe you like it at night, when it’s black with white specks in it which are called stars. But are they really stars…or just white specks?

  65. 65
    trollhattan says:

    I’ll see you, and raise you KFAT.

  66. 66
    JCJ says:

    Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks. I actually heard that on the radio this summer while driving on vacation in Switzerland. My wife and I almost started having seizures. The worst part about some of the god-awful music that gets made is that it can go global. My wife was 14 years old hearing that on the radio in Bangkok back when it came out in 1974.

  67. 67
    Mike E says:

    @kuvasz: America, natch. A Horse With No Name no doubt.

    2nd place to Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts

  68. 68
    jlow says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Ted and Hellen of Troll?

  69. 69
    raven says:

    And then there was underground radio in the Nam:

    “Welcome! This page is a tribute to Radio First Termer, a pirate radio station that operated for 21 glorious days from a brothel in Saigon, South Vietnam in January 1971. The host of Radio First Termer is Dave Rabbit, who is probably one of the raunchiest DJs ever to grace the Ether. Radio First Termer offered military personnel in South Vietnam a largely irreverent alternative to AFVN. Featured on this page are sound clips from what is believed to be the only surviving broadcast of Radio First Termer. The tapes from which I made these sound files are duplicates of duplicates, so the quality is not especially high. “

  70. 70
    Birthmarker says:

    A little off the timeframe, but I had the pleasure of my kids going nuts for Steppenwolf’s Magic Carpet Ride. Interestingly, they liked it at about the age I was when It came out the first time.

    I was in college in the early 70’s, so I would have to say, “Miss American Pie.”

  71. 71
    Birthmarker says:

    A little off the timeframe, but I had the pleasure of my kids going nuts for Steppenwolf’s Magic Carpet Ride. Interestingly, they liked it at about the age I was when It came out the first time.

    I was in college in the early 70’s, so I would have to say, “Miss American Pie.”

  72. 72
    David in NY says:

    I was reminded last night that the ’60’s foreshadowed the ’70’s in music (as they did everything else). E.g., God Didn’t Make Little Green Apples beat out Hey, Jude, for the grammy for best song in 1969.

  73. 73
    gogol's wife says:

    @Mike E:

    Every night before going to bed in 1973 my roommate would put a bunch of LPs on one of those players where you could stack several albums and they’d drop down as each one finished. We would go to sleep every night to Jim Croce followed by “Summer Breeze.” Very nostalgic. Sorry, Ted & Hellen.

  74. 74
    trollhattan says:


    Godley and Creme even wrote a song about Radio Luxembourg.

  75. 75
    slag says:

    What is this “AM” of which you speak? Back then (or at least during the late Reagan era), I think I was grooving on The Chipmunks Christmas Album: Good times!

    Now days, I’m groovin on the dulcet tones of Republican explanations of their dismal performance at their convention and in the general election (in part one of the general election discussion): Their defense basically amounts to this: As always, Republicans living up to their personal responsibility.

    Bonus: The word “bromance” was mentioned in conjunction with Romney-Ryan’s relationship. By the Republican team.

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Saturday in the Park by Chicago. Once heard ot on a Saturday in Grant Park – I think it was the 4th of July. True story.

  77. 77
  78. 78
    Alex S. says:

    The 70’s are my favorite decade, musically. I think it’s because the 60’s sound a little old-fashioned. The production qualities were inferior. On the other hand, the 80’s synth sounds are artificial. They sound like plastic to me. The 90’s are good, too. Recent music is too loud for me. It’s designed to assault your ears. Look up ‘loudness war’ on Wikipedia if you want an explanation.
    Also, the 70s had pretty much everything: disco, punk, prog rock, heavy metal, fusion, etc… I was not alive in the 70s, so there’s no song that signifies them for me. Hmm, I think I’ll go with Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’. That’s pretty 70s.

  79. 79
    gogol's wife says:

    “Killing Me Softly”

  80. 80
    Napoleon says:

    Dan Fogelberg, Carol King, Carly Simon, Ohio Players, Kool and the Gang – good times.

  81. 81
    trollhattan says:

    @gogol’s wife:
    Is that a real poncho, or a Sears poncho?

  82. 82
    dollared says:

    Can’t do it.

    Remember, “70’s” includes Stones’ Exile on Main Street, Eagles’ Hotel California, Allman Brothers’ Jessica, Donna Summers, Bob Marley, Talking Heads More Songs About Buildings and Food, etc.

  83. 83
  84. 84
    JustAnotherBob says:

    @trollhattan: KFAT morphed into KPIG.

    Wonderful programming.

  85. 85
    Capt. Seaweed says:

    WHFS. Bethesda MD. If you heard it back then you don’t need an explanation now.

  86. 86
    The Golux says:

    As for AM vs FM, before rock was much of a presence on FM, WPOP in Hartford had a show for a while hosted by Ken Griffin called “The Scene Of the Unheard”. It was where I heard “In A Gadda Da Vida” and the Dead’s “Alligator” for the first time, and several weeks before Sergeant Pepper came out, he played “A Day In the Life”. I remember riding to school on the bus the next day and wondering if I had only heard it in a dream.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:

    And what’s your favorite distinctively 70s song?

    Probably anything Stevie Wonder.

    But let’s open up Songs in the Key of Life, and go for

    Love’s in Need of Love Today. Great melody and rhythm.

    Then again, the ultimate song, which kicked off the 70s, was Marvin Gaye’s 1971 Make Me Wanna Holler from Inner City Blues.

    @The Ancient Randonneur:

    Radio has been taken over by corporate monsters and pretty much sucks. Period.

    Does anyone even listen to radio anymore, outside of a public radio station?

    Aside from this, and maybe sports talk radio, most people I know are doing some variation of Spotify and Pandora.

  88. 88
    gogol's wife says:


    Rhymed with “unconcho.”

  89. 89
    Ted & Hellen says:

    I have incandescent light bulbs in my ceiling light fixture. In the lamp over my desk I have a fluorescent bulb.

    Both make light, by which I can see after the sun goes down, to do things such as read a book.

    But how are those types of light different. Anyone know?

    And what is your favorite book you ever read by incandescent? By fluorescent? Why?

  90. 90
    BrklynLibrul says:

    “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band —

  91. 91
    halteclere says:

    AM is broadcast on a single frequency carrier wave, with the amplitudes of the music “added in” which changed the total signal amplitude. Hence the name “Amplitude Modulation”.

    FM is broadcast with a single amplitude carrier wave, wiht the the frequencies of the music “added in” which changed the total signal frequency. Hence the name “Frequency Modulation”. And I think that somehow with this frequency modulation two music signals, one for right channel and one for left channel, could be broadcast with the same carrier wave.

    AM is better for transmitting long distances, because it is just a single frequency wave that bounces off or penetrates various things uniformly. FM waves don’t “travel well” long distances because of the slight differences in frequencies become more pronounced the farther the travel distance. [On second thought, not so sure about this…] Finally, AM radio is broadcast a frequency more likely to bounce off of clouds (I’m sure there is some harmonic of water molecules involved) than FM, and therefor can reach area much farther away with the same broadcast power as FM.

    Finally, I think that a lot of FM’s rise and AM’s fall is that combining a variable frequency signal with a carrier wave and then extracting the signal at the receiver is technically more difficult that doing the same with a variable amplitude signal. It just takes a capacitor of the right size to remove the carrier signal, but it may require circuitry (transistors) to remove the carrier signal frequency.

  92. 92
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Black Sabbath – Supernaut

  93. 93
    Matt McIrvin says:

    …And, yes, I was going to mention some early Talking Heads, The Clash and/or Devo just to prove that many of the good parts of the 1980s actually occurred in the 1970s.

  94. 94
    raven says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m obviously a 60’s guy but this book was really interesting

    Night Moves: Pop Music in the Late ’70s [Paperback]
    Don Breithaupt (Author), Jeff Breithaupt

    Whether you cranked up your radio for Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Supertramp, the Bee Gees, Talking Heads, Rickie Lee Jones, or Earth, Wind and Fire, you’ll relive those heady days with this compulsively readable, behind-the-scenes account of the “Frampton years,” an era when pop became very big business. It’s all here, from ABBA to Zevon. This feisty, funny volume will leave pop fans of every stripe feeling Reunited, Afternoon Delight-ed, and Still Crazy After All These Years.

  95. 95
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Camel – Supertwister

  96. 96
    Napoleon says:


    Godley and Creme even wrote a song about Radio Luxembourg.

    Thanks! And as if to prove my point the intertubes says that Paul McCartney sings on that track as well.

  97. 97
    techno says:

    When I was in sixth grade, my grandfather gave me a 5-tube (YES) a.m. radio kit from Knight. When I got it together, I started experimenting with antennas. We lived out on the prairie in SW Minnesota and when the sun went down, we could easily pick up all those clear-channel stations. This entertained me until I left home 6 years later.

  98. 98
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Stevie Wonder – Superstition

  99. 99
    gogol's wife says:

    But speaking of AM, I love the scene in That Thing You Do where the kids are all running around with their earplugs plugged into their transistor radios when their song comes on the radio and they go nuts. That captures a very ’60s feeling, when you walked around with your transistor just hoping against hope that your favorite song would be played, and you never knew when it would be, so it was such a thrill. That’s what AM radio is for me. Motown and the Beatles just coming out with a new masterpiece every week.

  100. 100
    Hoodie says:

    AM is lower frequency, so it doesn’t get attenuated like FM. FM is higher frequency, so that makes it easier to give more bandwidth per station, hence stereo. Those old clear channel AM stations were fun before the advent of hate radio. I had this old AM transistor shaped like a globe with a jet plane on top as a tuner and, as a kid in N. Georgia, used to listen to Cardinals and Blues games on KMOX in bed at night after solar activity had died down, had to keep adjusting the tuner to make up for drift and interference. Kind of like listening to shortwave, a window into another world. Used to listen to the same stations in the summer on the old tube radio in my Dad’s 1960 Caddie as we rolled across the empty spaces in Wyoming, laying on the floor boards and looking up through the panoramic rear window at the stars. There were some great indie FM stations, too, I remember WHFS in Baltimore in the 80s, some really distinctive shows. Radio sucks now, ruined by corporations, like just about everything else. Quintessential 70’s songs? Elton John, BeeGees, The Who, Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Donna Summer. . . too many to count.

  101. 101
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Curtis Mayfield – Superfly

  102. 102
    tinare says:

    Seasons in the Sun and Billy Don’t Be a Hero are two songs that scream 70s AM radio to me.

    I used to ride my bike with an AM transistor radio taped to the handlebars.

  103. 103
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    I’ll spare myself the look back to the 70s, and note how grateful I am that I can still hear good current and old music on WNKU. Worth a listen.

  104. 104
    David in NY says:

    @Schlemizel: Detroit’s WJR was one of those clear channels, playing boring, really middle of the road pop. And it went the way of a lot of AM. Though I can get it now on a clear night’s drive to upstate NY, it’s all right-wingers frothing up the base with infuriating arguments. Sic transit …

    @Hoodie: “fun before the advent of hate radio” Exactly (if they were fun, which WJR never really was).

  105. 105
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Another difference between AM and FM is that FM occupies a higher frequency band (88 to 108 MHz as opposed to AM’s 535 to 1705 kHz); this is part of why FM stations aren’t affected by ionic reflection.

    The higher frequency also means that FM waves can carry more information, which is why the audio signals sound truer to the original than on AM.

    Didn’t listen to the radio much as a kid; the main standbys I remember are “Bad Bad Leroy Brown”, “Your Song”, “American Pie”, stuff like that.

  106. 106
    trollhattan says:

    I loved the Fat. Somehow it skipped along from Gilroy to Stockton, enriching my life considerably. The filthiest song I’ve ever heard broadcast was on KFAT. The woman DJ introduced it thusly:

    “[So and so] called to bet me I wouldn’t have the nerve to play this song. Well, pay up.”

    Due to the blessing that is the interwebs, I can share the very song and performance.

  107. 107
    Liberty60 says:


    Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks.

    God yes. Nothing can bring me back to being an emo junior high school dweeb faster than that.

  108. 108
    wrb says:


    Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks.

    If it is sadism you want… “Afternoon Delight”

  109. 109
    scav says:

    Short People makes the cut — go figure.

  110. 110
    Svensker says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Judging from the number of posts, BJers are enjoying this topic and having fun reminiscing. Meanwhile, you’re over in the corner, screaming, “Maaaaa-om, maaaaa-om, they won’t play what I want to play! It’s not faaaaaiiirrr! Make them play with meeeeeee!”

    Everybody gets a turn. You have to wait for yours. But there will be a special cookie just for you! if you play nicely and act like a big boy.

  111. 111
    kdaug says:


    Damnit, Raven. I had Michael Murphey on cassette. Until about 12 seconds ago I’d forgotten.


    (And yes, I’m rudely pushing, because I think it’s awesome. YMMV)

  112. 112
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @r€nato: I agree! I also liked ELO’s Mister Blue Sky, Blinded by the Light (Manfred Mann), and — my apologies! — Wildfire.

    I recall listening to AM radio for sports (Vin Scully announcing the Dodgers, Dick Enberg announcing the Rams and Angels, and Chick Hearn calling the Lakers). I always loved it when at night some far-distant station would come in. Does anyone recall a 1970’s effort hosted by E.G. Marshall — it was an attempt to revive old-time radio mystery theater.

    I’ve always been a great fan of “the magic of radio”….

  113. 113
    The Moar You Know says:

    Anything by Steely Dan.

    America – Horse With No Name – I’ll second that, although the first time I heard it was on NorCal AM in 1972. I was six years old. Made an impression to say the least, probably was what turned me into a musician.

  114. 114
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Super Bad, Pts. 1-2 – James Brown

  115. 115
    AA+ Bonds says:

    James Brown – Super Bad (parts 1 and 2)

  116. 116
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @gogol’s wife: That actually reminds me of… the mid-1980s, only they were FM Walkmen and the kids were patiently awaiting repeats of “We Built This City” by Starship.

  117. 117
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  119. 119
    raven says:

    @kdaug: Saw him at the Armadillo in about 73.

  120. 120
    Shana says:

    Let’s not forget the late 70’s to mid-80’s when there was such a thing as college radio where so many great bands first got airplay.

    Also, after moving to Chicago in the early 80’s I always listened to WXRT which had a monthly schedule of featured artists. You could pick up a card at any record store that listed the artists for each day of the month, there were usually two. If you listened all day long, which I often did at work, you’d hear so much of the artist’s work, deep into their catalog. It was terrific and I still miss that station, and in fact, was talking about it just last Friday night with another ex-Chicagoan while walking back to our car after seeing Neil Young and Crazy Horse, with Patti Smith opening. A fabulous night.

  121. 121
    Svensker says:


    Does anyone even listen to radio anymore, outside of a public radio station?

    I’m telling y’all, you should stream WFDU (FM 89.1) Fairleigh Dickenson University in Joisey. In the afternoons they have great blues, they’ve got bluegrass, Sunday has a fantastic doo-wop show, they’ve got blue-eyed gospel, they’ve got a Motown show. Saturday mornings they go to Irish music, which drives me bonkers, but otherwise they are fantastic. They are also very amenable to call-in requests and their DJs are all fanatics in their field with wonderful libraries.

    Seriously. Listen live. Or listen to earlier shows from the archives. Great stuff.

  122. 122
    kdaug says:

    @Alex S.:

    Hmm, I think I’ll go with Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’. That’s pretty 70s.

    Ahh now, lad, you’re in my wheelhosue.

  123. 123
    trollhattan says:

    @AA+ Bonds:
    Always had a soft spot for the album version of Funky Hot Pants, which could only be played on hippie FM. What a hoot.

    And let’s not forget “[Talkin’ ’bout] Shaft!”

  124. 124
    wrb says:

    Jimmie Castor

    The Bertha Butt Boogie

  125. 125
    Wallace says:

    I was a kid in the 70’s, and two favorites were Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover and Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.

  126. 126
    R-Jud says:

    I was born at the absolute ash-end of the 1970s (Nov. 1979). Still, whenever I hear “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass, I feel like I’m about to be whisked away by some sort of time anomaly that ends with me interrupting my parents’ wedding to tell my Dad for Christ’s sake not to wear those flares with that tie.

  127. 127
    kdaug says:

    @BrklynLibrul: Don’t.

  128. 128
    SenyorDave says:

    In 1975 I was on the college road trip (I was lucky, my brother took me instead of my parents, so we got to do fun stuff at night), I remeber two songs being played constantly. “One of these Nights”, by the Eagles and “I’m not in Love”, by 10cc (I once heard that the band got its name becasue 10cc was the average amount in an ejaculation). Those two songs will always be the epitome of 70’s rock to me.

  129. 129
    trollhattan says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    If you can believe it, people STILL try to correct my pronunciation of “Camarillo.” As if Frank could ever be wrong (appeal to authority).

  130. 130
    becca says:

    @wrb: Afternoon Delight- I vomit a little just at the thought of that POS, unless delivered by Paul Rudd n’ friends.

    As I recall, Frampton Comes Alive was the rage in the mid 70’s. Time moves on and Peter lost his hair, found Jesus and moved to Nashville, like most faded rock stars do.

  131. 131
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    McCartney & Wings- Jet

    Golden Earring- Radar Love

    Stevie Wonder- You Are the Sunshine of My Life

    Hues Corporation- Rock the Boat

    Clapton- I Shot the Sheriff

    America- Tin Man

    Tanya Tucker- Delta Dawn

    BTW: Anything after ’76 I consider FM music. That’s about the time dad got the first company car with a stock FM tuner. Except the Hues Corporation.

  132. 132
    Brooklyn Michael says:

    She ran callin’ WIIIIIIIILDFIRE!

  133. 133
    p.a. says:

    Yep, AM=top 40 pop, FM= AOR cool.
    Ventura Highway, A Horse with No Name. Ah to be 13 in June 1972 and keep calling the request lines for Alice Cooper’s School’s Out. The Candyman. Put de Lime in de Coconut. Mungo Jerry’s In the Summertime. Tumblin’ Dice. Carol King and James Taylor.

  134. 134
    ed_finnerty says:

    in canada we also had ‘canadian content’ rules so we got lots of

    – Signs – Five Man Electrical Band,
    – Oh What A Feeling – Crowbar,
    – Last Song – Edward Bear

    bet you never heard of most of this s**t.

  135. 135
    scav says:

    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or was that an obsession only of my father? He and mom would rather compete, he’d blare out Londa Ronstandt in one room and she’d counter with, guy with a beard , bababa know when to hold em guy? Good time to flee the house, Athough how we could span Saturday night Fever (mom) Joan Baez, judy Collins, Janis Ian The White Album, the 5th Dimension, Anything by Paul Simon, waay too much John Denver, and 1930s bluegrass, my head is beginning to hurt.

  136. 136
    scav says:

    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or was that an obsession only of my father? He and mom would rather compete, he’d blare out Londa Ronstandt in one room and she’d counter with, guy with a beard , bababa know when to hold em guy? Good time to flee the house, Athough how we could span Saturday night Fever (mom) Joan Baez, judy Collins, Janis Ian The White Album, the 5th Dimension, Anything by Paul Simon, waay too much John Denver, and 1930s bluegrass, my head is beginning to hurt.

  137. 137
    scav says:

    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or was that an obsession only of my father? He and mom would rather compete, he’d blare out Londa Ronstandt in one room and she’d counter with, guy with a beard , bababa know when to hold em guy? Good time to flee the house, Athough how we could span Saturday night Fever (mom) Joan Baez, judy Collins, Janis Ian The White Album, the 5th Dimension, Anything by Paul Simon, waay too much John Denver, and 1930s bluegrass, my head is beginning to hurt.

  138. 138
    Raven says:

    @scav: Will the Circle is one of the greats.

  139. 139
    Ted & Hellen says:


    My point is that these are the type of conversations I have with real people in meat space; and it seems kind of sad to have to resort to doing so with digital, cyber “friends” on a political blog whom you really know almost nothing about; and what you think you know is probably not accurate anyway.

    It’s a symptom of the digital age in which imagined friendships on the Internet take more and more of our time as we leave real life interaction behind.

    I save my BJ time for screaming at the idiots about politics and such. I thought that’s what it is for, primarily. These DougJ “talk amongst yourselves” chats seem…retarded.

  140. 140
    danielx says:

    FM just sounds a whole lot better, then and now. I gotta go with My Old School, Steely Dan…

  141. 141
    Napoleon says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    Does anyone recall a 1970’s effort hosted by E.G. Marshall—it was an attempt to revive old-time radio mystery theater.

    Yes, I do – I would sneak a radio to bed and listen to it. I do not have time to look now but about a year ago I was talking to someone about listening to the Fall of the House of Usher on that show and managed to find a website that had all the episodes on it.

  142. 142
    kdaug says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    Does anyone recall a 1970’s effort hosted by E.G. Marshall—it was an attempt to revive old-time radio mystery theater.

    Vaguely. Sounds familiar. But I think my pre-teen self was more interested in Dr. Demento at the time.

  143. 143
    dswagz says:

    Grand Funk: I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)

  144. 144
    Comrade Mary says:

    @JAson: All you people voting for Afternoon Delight are retroactively ruining fucking for me. AGAIN.

    Stop it. Just stop it.

  145. 145
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Yet this is at least your 4th comment on this topic.

  146. 146
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): @kdaug:

    It was CBS Mystery Theater. I loved the fuck outta that show.

  147. 147
    Chyron HR says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I assume that these are rhetorical questions and that, as always, the correct answer is “It’s Obummer’s fault.”

  148. 148
    LarryB says:

    Man, showing my age, here. Ok, FM rocked in the early-mid 70s. All the money was in AM so the “underground” FM rock stations got to do whatever the f**k they wanted for a few years. I (vaguely) remember that time in San Diego. The station was so off the wall 90% of the commercials were fakes: One of my favorite was ‘Panama Red’, spokesman for his favorite recreational smoke

    No stems, no seeds that you don’t need, [takes a deep drag, wheezes] Acapulco Gold is bad-ass weed!*

    *sung to the tune of a famous cigarette jingle.

    The movie FM is a sanitized docudrama about one of them.

  149. 149
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    Nooooo…my comment is on the subject of DougJ’s style of post as embodied in this current post; not the FM/AM thing.

  150. 150
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): I had a jr. high English teacher who would play old time radio programs (I Love a Mystery and such) and then quiz us on the programs (to strengthen our “listening skills”). We all loved it. That CBS Mystery Theater was right up my alley.

  151. 151
    Roy G. says:

    I was a preteen in the 70s, and a lot of these songs got encoded in my musical DNA. Fortunately, I had the proverbial older sister with a cool record collection. My picks for non-moldy 70s oldies:

    Lowdown – Boz Scaggs

    Year of the Cat – Al Stewart

    and one slice of classic cheese:

    Chevy Van – Sammy Johns

  152. 152
    muddy says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    The 50 Most Annoying Songs of the 1970s basically has you covered here.

    O this list! I had (blissfully) entirely forgotten most of these but suddenly I knew all the words. Why can’t they teach school with these kind of earworms? I’d have the periodic table memorized.

  153. 153
    Calouste says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    What is the purpose of these types of posts?

    To piss you off. And they’re working.

  154. 154
    Brachiator says:


    I’m telling y’all, you should stream WFDU (FM 89.1) Fairleigh Dickenson University in Joisey.

    Thanks much. I will check this out.

    Funny thing, I don’t really consider Internet streaming to be listening to the radio.

    Maybe it’s radio plus. I regularly stream the BBC and their Radio 4 Extra comedy and drama shows, along with some classical and jazz stations.

    Ah, they have an iPhone/iPad app. Let’s download it and check it out.

    Thanks again.

  155. 155
    Mumon says:

    Patti Smith: Because the Night. Or Talking Heads “Taking Me to the River.”

    It was all garbage after ’72 until Springsteen came along.

  156. 156
    Sawgrass Stan says:

    When I’m doing a long-distance drive, I notice that the one constant is a series of cloned oldies stations, “Magic 104…5..6 etc. Greatest Hits of the 60’s 70’s and 80’s.” Really horrible– better to listen to local Rant Radio.
    I stopped listening to AM radio in the 70’s, as pop music was run thru the blander.
    My fave 70’s era AM hit? “Timothy” by (I think)The Boys. Cannibalism never made it to the top 40 again, and it never sounded so good.

  157. 157
    Ted & Hellen says:


    Hmmm…not sure why you’d think I was “pissed off.”

    Can you explain why you think that?

    Have YOU ever been pissed off? What does it feel like to you? Have you been pissed off under different colors of sky, depending on the weather and time of day?

    Tell us about it!

  158. 158

    Lesse, 1970 aprox, 1963 Impala SS 409 with that bigass W Head thumping along with an experimental Buick (AC-Delco) monster AM/FM stereo (inside contacts, never produced) doing Run Through The Jungle on the way to the Big Boy drive in where there were a lot more kinda sorta likes sitting at the order speakers.

    On the other side of nostalgia, that bad motor got 8mpg vs most getting 18mpg and they paid $0.19/ga for no name Reg and that bastard only ran on $0.45 ga Sunoco 260 so I worked a lot to support a car that also ate tires and most everything else.

  159. 159
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    I picked up two bad habits from dad when I was a kid: Listening to WBBM (AM 780) out of Chicago and going to sleep with the radio on. IIRC, Mystery Theater aired at 9pm in Chicago, which made it 10 pm here in Michigan. And it aired later if the Blackhawks were playing. I was in elementary school throughout the first half of the decade, and I’m surprised I didn’t fall asleep in class.

  160. 160
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @becca: Actually Peter lives in Cincinnati. He is short on hair though.

  161. 161
    burnspbesq says:

    The epitome of the 70s? Pick one from the following menu:

    I’ll Be Around, The Spinners
    She’s Gone, Hall & Oates
    Take It Easy, The Eagles
    Listen to the Music, The Doobie Brothers
    Kid Charlemagne, Steely Dan
    You’re No Good, Linda Ronstadt
    Night Moves, Bob Seger
    Roll with the Changes, REO Speedwagon
    Baba O’Reilly, The Who
    Stayin’ Alive, the Bee Gees
    Love to Love You Baby, Donna Summer
    Birdland, Weather Report
    Chameleon, Herbie Hancock
    Help Me, Joni Mitchell
    Alison, Elvis Costello
    Psycho Killer, Talking Heads

    ETA: Those are all the safe and obvious choices. Ths is the real deal.

  162. 162
    Brachiator says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    Does anyone recall a 1970’s effort hosted by E.G. Marshall—it was an attempt to revive old-time radio mystery theater.

    KNX Radio used to regularly replay classic radio drama shows in the evening. Loved the Have Gun, Will Travel. Always thought that it was funny that the portly William Conrad did the voice of Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke.

    Marshall did the great CBS Radio Mystery Theater (aka Radio Mystery Theater and Mystery Theater).

    There was one show in particular, that featured a troubled teen reminiscent of the female protagonist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But I can’t remember the title or other details. I think there was something about the narrator thinking having a disease or thinking that he would die soon. Oh, well.

  163. 163
    John says:

    The 70’s: Dr. Hook, “You make my pants get up and dance”

  164. 164
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Jesus, everyone can hear you through the intertubes fappin’ away. Just shoot your troll-splooge on your keyboard and go away.

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  166. 166
    ruemara says:

    70’s? Well, evelyn champagne king

    Sylvester, feeling real

    David, oh my David. I heard my space oddity singing and this church girl would never ever be able to say no to the devil’s music.

  167. 167
    Rosalita says:

    10cc’s “I’m not in love” always drags me back kicking and screaming back to the 70s…

  168. 168
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    I’m going with late 70s:
    Rhiannon, Fleetwood Mac
    Hotel California, Eagles

    For early 70s, gotta be Layla. Clapton and Duane Allman, both.

  169. 169
    Ted & Hellen says:

    It IS fascinating though, as Dr. Sheldon Cooper would say, that those most likely to enthusiastically comment on the topics of idiot DougJ posts like this also tend to be the most vociferous Obots.


  170. 170
    JustAnotherBob says:

    @trollhattan: That’s one great find. It did push past the limits of what FAT/PIG played on a regular basis and they routinely pushed the limits.

    Back then I worked in Stockton and the Lodi area but lived up higher around Jenny Lind. I had a clear shot at the Bay Area for reception. On foggy days in the Valley I would look across a vast field of fog and see Mount Diablo poking up on the horizon.

    KPIG still lives on as a web streaming station, but they charge….

  171. 171
    eemom says:

    damn, my one topic of semi-expertise and I got too much shit to do to read the thread.

    wrt AM/FM though, the gold standard of ’70s pop for a kid growing up in NYC was WABC (doubleyouaybeeCEEEE…New Yoooooork!!) which I think was an AM station.

    It also featured Howard Cosell speaking of sports in the mornings.

  172. 172
    burnspbesq says:

    In the 70s, radio was much more regional than it became later. Living and going to school in the Northeast, there was stuff that was huge in the Midwest that you never heard unless you drove cross-country.

  173. 173
    BobS says:

    Whose 70’s? While there was certainly a lot of crossover, you had many different audiences who remember different sounds.
    Hotel California and Say You Love Me for the ‘softer’ sound you seem to associate with the 70’s.
    Others would have been listening to Living in the City and Give Up the Funk.
    Or Ziggy Stardust and Bang a Gong.
    Or Won’t Get Fooled Again and Born to Run.
    Or Birdland.
    Or Anarchy in the UK.
    Or Get Up, Stand Up.
    Or Stayin Alive and Night Fever.
    Lot of good music in the 70’s.

  174. 174

    One real thing to be said for early 70s FM was album play stations, deep cuts, entire albums, very non-pop. Very good with those alternative mind altering chems.

  175. 175
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I’m not the one who gets off on anonymously trolling the internet.

  176. 176
    burnspbesq says:


    You listened to WABC in the 70s? Brave of you to admit that, but it makes you a total dork. All the cool kids started listening to WNEW-FM in 1967, and moved on to WLIR by 1974. When I started doing college radio, Dennis McNamara was the guy I wanted to sound like.

  177. 177
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Brachiator: My local NPR affiliate used to air a couple hours of old-time radio that was bundled and put out by some fellow in San Diego (his name was something like Jerry Hendegus, but when I try to look it up, Google asks me if I perhaps meant to write “Jerry’s Handguns”).

    My local Costco used to sell 20 tapes of old radio shows (westerns, science fiction, mystery, comedy). The comedy does not hold up terribly well I would say. Just too dated.

  178. 178
    JWL says:

    Tom Donahue was another name for FM radio in the San Francisco Bay Area circa 1968-’73. Then he died, his wife Rachel eventually bailed and sold, and radio was never as good again around here. “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own”.

  179. 179
    Keith G says:

    In the early 70s, CKLW AM (Windsor, Ont): Al Green, Let’s Stay Together; The Four Tops,Aint No Woman; and the master Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On?

    Yeah, I was a pasty farm boy growing up just south of Toledo, but Detroit R&B kept me sane.

    Mid 70s, WOIT FM in Toledo switched to album rock and I came to appreciate longer cuts from David Bowie, Queen and Pink Floyd.

    With all that. my iconic 70’s song was introduced to me late one night at the cast party of one of our plays in high school. I was high as the clouds and drifting through the stereo speakers of the radio tuned to WOIT came Dream Weaver.

    No one said a word.

    Right place, right time, right song.

  180. 180
    eemom says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    dude, you crack me up.

    I may be the world’s loneliest fan club. :)

  181. 181

    In the earlier 60s trapped in C OH with country and early 50s AM WABC saved sanity… Iffy to get, though – mostly late at night.

  182. 182
    burnspbesq says:

    @Keith G:

    You could hear CKLW clear as a bell in Upstate New York at night. The last great AM station.

  183. 183
    Napoleon says:


    In the 70s, radio was much more regional than it became later. Living and going to school in the Northeast, there was stuff that was huge in the Midwest that you never heard unless you drove cross-country.

    J Giles was that way for years in Detroit. In NE Ohio we had Michael Stanley who never broke out nationally but was huge in this part of the country.

  184. 184
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Reggae classics by Jimmy Cliff: “Many Rivers to Cross” (came out 1969 but re-released 1972) and “The Harder They Come”

    Any songs by Bob Marley.

  185. 185
    ThresherK says:

    @Comrade Mary: “That’s my wife and nephew on the stage! We have an open marriage!”

    Oh, and I spent much of the 70s listening to WNEW-AM. They actually had a theater beat reporter, and I heard opening-night reviews of plays great and also forgotten (a one-night-only drama of “Frankenstein”, anybody?), which I didn’t know was an odd thing because of my youth.

  186. 186
    eemom says:


    does it help that I was 5 years old in ’67 and 12 in ’74?

    Probly doesn’t matter though — I expect my dorkdom is sealed by the fact that I listened to 99X as an actual teenager.

  187. 187
    SBJules says:

    Emotional rescue, Boz Carole King & Earth, Wind & Fire.

  188. 188
    trollhattan says:


    For nostalgia’s sake, I can see Mt. Diablo poking through the clouds right now.

    When I lived in Stockton I’d have moved up the hill in a heartbeat, given the opportunity. Amazing to me that it got worse, not better with time.

  189. 189
    Bob Munck says:

    The divide is clear: AM was Elvis; FM was The Beatles.

    We could listen to AM on a 6-transistor radio that a kid could afford, pick up the big 50KW clear-channel (not “Clear Channel”) stations like WKBW from Buffalo and WLS Chicago, and WIBG locally in Philly. By the time the Beatles came along, I was in college and building a Heathkit FM (tube) receiver.

    Now I’m listening to the same music, but it involves geosynchronous satellites, a billion-transistor telephone, and a Bluetooth connection to the speakers. Somehow it sounded better on the 2″ speaker in that first transistor radio.

  190. 190
    burnspbesq says:

    One of my favorite music videos from the 70s is of Jennifer Warnes doing “Right Time of the Night” on Midnight Special. The hair, the clothes, and especially the glasses all scream Horny High School Teacher.

  191. 191
    Lancelot Link says:

    @Brachiator: I used to listen to those radio dramas on KSFO before it degenerated into the hate-radio sewer

    In 1979 KFAT broadcast back-to-back live sets by Dan Hicks & his Hot Licks..and the CRAMPS.

  192. 192
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Anyone remember those goofy anthology songs where a reporter would ask some character a question and the response would be snippets of then-popular music? I recall something after Jaws came out where one of the questions went something like, “Mr. Shark, what did you think when you ate that woman?” and the shark would “respond” with the partial line, “How sweet it is…” (by James Taylor).

    Okay, now having written that, I feel a bit like Chris Farley saying, “Do you remember when you made that movie Caddyshack?… That was awesome.”

  193. 193
    David in NY says:

    @burnspbesq: Hell, CKLW, I had completely forgotten. A young woman of my acquaintance had the clock radio set to CKLW to go on at 8:00 a.m., and every day they played Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World” at that very time. Hearing “JERemiah was a bullfrog …” first thing really got a person going. But every day?

  194. 194

    @Lancelot Link:
    by late 70s I was listening to FAT from N Bay area. Whenever I buy garlic…

  195. 195
    Randy P says:

    Pretty much all of Motown.

  196. 196
    Brachiator says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    What is the purpose of these types of posts?

    One of the tags in Navel-gazing. A little tongue-in-cheek (or is that eye-in-navel?).

    Sometimes, ya just wanna have a little non-political fun.

  197. 197
    ThresherK says:

    @burnspbesq: Upstate New York? It has quite a range beyond that. I logged CKLW regularly while living on the coast in Connecticut then.

    I enjoyed listening to sportscasters from stations like 3WE in Cleveland (during one of their many “Cadavalier” phases) and old WKBW in Buffalo. I mean, the alternative was Johnny Most telling us how felonious assaults were being committed on innocent Celtic players every minute of the game.

  198. 198
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I may be the world’s loneliest fan club. :)

    @eemom: No, that’s something you share with Cole, you both seem to love him.

    Now WHY you’d both love a guy who has posted at length on the awesomeness of older men raping kids, and whose “artwork” – caricatures that would be laughed out of a shit-level podunk county fair – I’ll never understand but I guess it’s true that there’s no accounting for taste.

  199. 199
    Randy P says:

    We’re an AM /FM marriage. While I was listening to “I got a brand new pair of roller skates” my future wife was absorbing the Stones on FM.

  200. 200
    ruemara says:

    @eemom: It’s a lot like enjoying a Karen Finley performance. Intriguing for what it says.

  201. 201
    slightly_peeved says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    You know the one thing that’s sadder?

    Complaining about it.

    I see a little silhouetto of a man…

  202. 202
    Randy P says:

    @Brachiator: Oh yeah. I could sing you the theme song, complete with creaking-door sound effect from the opener. I think it was just called “Mystery Theater”. At the same time a couple of local stations were playing the old stuff, and I discovered Jack Benny and the radio version of Gunsmoke.

  203. 203
    gbear says:

    I went to a great “AM Gold” show with my sister at Tony Starlight’s in Portland.

    Was the sound system 400 6″x9″ speakers running a mono signal?

  204. 204
    Ted & Hellen says:


    You know the one thing that’s sadder?
    Complaining about it.

    Without complaining as a full time occupation, Balloon Juice would not exist nor ever have been established.


  205. 205
    Brachiator says:

    From, This Day in Music, for December 3:

    1955, Elvis Presley’s first release on RCA Victor Records was announced. The first two songs ‘Mystery Train’ and ‘I Forgot to Remember to Forget’ had been purchased from Sam Phillips of Sun Records. Elvis was described by his new record company as ‘The most talked about personality in recorded music in the last 10 years.’

    1956, Guy Mitchell was at No.1 on the US singles chart with his version of ‘Singing The Blues’, which spent nine weeks at the top of the charts. Two other charting versions of the song were released almost simultaneously with Mitchell’s, one by UK singer Tommy Steele (with the Steelmen) and the other by US country singer Marty Robbins.

    1961, Brian Epstein invited The Beatles into his office to discuss the possibility of becoming their manager. John Lennon, Harrison and Pete Best arrived late for the 4 p.m. meeting, (they had been drinking at the Grapes pub in Matthew Street), but Paul McCartney was not with them, because, as Harrison explained, he had just got up and was “taking a bath”.

    1964, The Rolling Stones had their second UK No.1 single with their version of ‘Little Red Rooster’. The Stones had recorded the song at Chess Studios in Chicago, the same studios where Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Little Walter had recorded their blues classics.

    1965, The Beatles set out on what would be their last ever UK tour at Glasgow’s Odeon Cinema. Also on the bill, The Moody Blues The Koobas and Beryl Marsden. The last show was at Cardiff’s Capitol Cinema on 12th December.

    1966, British act The New Vaudeville Band started a three-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Winchester Cathedral’. A No.4 hit in the UK.

    1966, The Monkees made their live debut at the International Arena, Honolulu.

    1969, The Rolling Stones recorded ‘Brown Sugar’ at Muscle Shoals studios. The single went on to be a UK & US No.1. The song was written by Mick Jagger with Marsha Hunt in mind

    1976, An estimated three and a half million people applied for Abba’s forthcoming British Albert Hall concerts, there were just over 11 thousand tickets available.

  206. 206
    gbear says:

    My two favorite early FM moments were calling in to KQRS in Minneapolis to find out that the really cool song they’d just played was ‘The Bomber’ by The James Gang. The other one was when a DJ at the same station got bored with ‘Iron Man’ halfway through and flipped the turntable speed up to 45. By the 80’s that station had turned into a braindead corporate classic rock station.

  207. 207
    Yutsano says:

    @Brachiator: It’s not 70’s but it just seems to fit the tenor of your post.

  208. 208
    Steeplejack says:

    Lots of great music in the ’70s, just like every other decade. Hard to pick out one emblematic song. But when I think of ’70s radio the first thing I think of is light, treble-heavy pop. From the last days of AM radio as a primary music source.

    People above have mentioned “Afternoon Delight,” which even at the time I found treacly. I have to go to King Harvest’s “Dancing in the Moonlight” as a corrective.

    And, since I spent the bulk of the ’70s in L.A. (lower Alabama), another song that puts me right back there is Marshall Tucker’s “Heard It in a Love Song.” A great time for Southern rock.

  209. 209
    Raven says:

    Good news, my back-ordered flesh eating beetles have shipped!

  210. 210
    Steeplejack says:



  211. 211
    Lavocat says:

    Where to start, where to start …

    Let’s go w/ my favorite Top 10 from 1972:

    “Black Dog”, “Iron Man”, “All The Young Dudes”, “Bang A Gong (Get It On)”, “Changes”, “Easy Livin'”, “Rock And Roll (Part 2)”, “Roundabout”, “From The Beginning”, and “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”. “Layla” comes very close.

    From 1973: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, “Walk On The Wild Side”, “Love, Reign O’er Me”, “Over The Hills And Far Away”, “Reelin’ In The Years”, “Rocky Mountain Way”, “Frankenstein”, “Hocus Pocus”, “D’yer Mak’er”, and “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting”. Three close calls are: “Smoke On The Water”, “Billion Dollar Babies”, and “Stealin'”.

    From 1974: “Radar Love”, “Rock On”, “Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo”, La Grange”, “The Real Me”, “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”, “Jungle Boogie”, “Us And Them”, “Hooked On A Feeling”, and “Jessica”. Close runners-up are “It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)”, “Tell Me Something Good”, and “I Shot The Sheriff”.

    For 1975: “Killer Queen”, “Jackie Blue”, “Keep Yourself Alive”, “Sweet EMotion”, “Born To Run”, “Tush”, “Eighteen With A Bullet”, “Trampled Underfoot”, “Lady”, and “Low Rider”. Close calls are “Bloody Well Right”, “Katmandu”, and “Fame”.

    From 1976: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “The Boys Are Back In Town”, “More Than A Feeling”, “Locomotive Breath”, “Play That Funky Music”, “Dream On”, “Slow Ride”, “Golden Years”, “Do You Feel Like We Do” [the LIVE version!], and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”. Close calls would be “Fool For The City”, Love Rollercoaster”, and “Detroit Rock City”.

    Ffrom 1977 … shit, I could just go on and on. However, I better get back to work now.

    Thanks for reminiscing. I’m gonna have to find an oldies station now.

  212. 212
    dan says:

    Inna Gadda da Vida, baby. You ain’t gonna hear that on AM.

  213. 213
    dedc79 says:

    Pure Prairie League – Amie
    David Bowie – Heroes

  214. 214
    Arrik says:

    @Randy P:

    Yeah, I was also going to say “Brand New Key” by Melanie, though “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” is also a great choice.

  215. 215
    burnspbesq says:

    If you lived on the east coast, LA was the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, and the Mamas & the Papas. The was a whole music subculture in LA (i.e., the Eastside) that the rest of the country never got to hear. I didn’t know who Thee Midniters were until I got out here to start law school.

  216. 216
  217. 217
    Arrik says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    Jesus, everyone can hear you through the intertubes fappin’ away. Just shoot your troll-splooge on your keyboard and go away.

    OK that made me laugh out loud, so to speak.

  218. 218
    burnspbesq says:

    I recognize Andrew Gold as one of the backup singers, but is that Leo Sayer?

  219. 219
    burnspbesq says:


    One-hit wonders.

  220. 220
    charles pierce says:

    Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl) — Looking Glass.
    I win.

  221. 221
    Steeplejack says:


    Just for you: WABC jingles from the ’70s!

    “Music radio–WABCeeeee!”

  222. 222
    Librarian says:

    As a kid in NY in the 70s, I remember listening to Jean Shepherd’s radio show on WOR at night, which also had Bob and Ray in the afternoon before they suddenly replaced them with something else.

  223. 223
    Pauline C. May says:

    “And what’s your favorite distinctively 70s song?”

    “Lady” by Styx. Love it.

  224. 224
    Paul Harrington says:

    “Brandy” is a good choice. But for me it’s “Alone Again, Naturally.” The AM station I listened to had their own top ten list in the newspaper. That song was at number 1 for 17 weeks. It was a long campaign, but we finally knocked it off the top.

  225. 225

    Sorta on topic– found an awesome spotify list called Diamond Joe Biden: Vice Presidential Jams.

  226. 226
    Brachiator says:



    Absolutely. The great Arthur Lee, very troubled, very talented.


    If you lived on the east coast, LA was the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Buffalo Springfield, the Doors, and the Mamas & the Papas. The was a whole music subculture in LA (i.e., the Eastside) that the rest of the country never got to hear. I didn’t know who Thee Midniters were until I got out here to start law school.

    There are diners and other eateries in Whittier and Duarte that feature almost nothing but music by the Eastside groups and the bands that inspired them.

    And in addition to the obvious stuff, like the Eagles/Jackson Browne Hollywood and Laureal Canyon connection, you had a range of bands popping up from War to Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band to Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo.

    How ’bout a little Dead Man’s Party

    Yes, this is 80s but still

  227. 227
    peorgietirebiter says:


    Tom Donahue was another name for FM radio in the San Francisco Bay Area

    Donohie programmed KMET and KPPC , the first FM stations we listened to in Los Angeles.
    And he did it out of S.F. Pretty amazing guy during the era. KHJ playing Sgt.Peppers over the summer of ’67 will always define AM radio for me. FM dominated our radio after 72 or so.

  228. 228
    burnspbesq says:

    @Capt. Seaweed:

    WHFS. Bethesda MD. If you heard it back then you don’t need an explanation now.

    Amen. Gone but not forgotten.

  229. 229
    cayleytable says:

    “Beautiful Sunday” by Daniel Boone takes me back to car rides when I was 8 years old…

  230. 230
    Steeplejack says:

    I’m getting random bleed-through from the ’70s. The James Gang, “Midnight Man.” Haven’t thought of that one in ages.

  231. 231
    RSA says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    Does anyone recall a 1970’s effort hosted by E.G. Marshall—it was an attempt to revive old-time radio mystery theater.

    Yes. In fact, you can download almost all 1,399 episode of CBS Radio Mystery Theater in MP3 format. My wife listens to them at night (of course) either on a laptop or her phone. Here’s one site that makes them available 50 episodes at a time; there are hosting sites as well (probably bittorrent).

    Creeeeeeeak! “Come in. Welcome.”

  232. 232
    burnspbesq says:


    How ‘bout a little Dead Man’s Party

    Works for me. One of the craziest concerts I ever attended was Oingo Boingo and X at the Orange Pavilion in Berdoo, summer of 1987.

    Danny Elfman was a truly sick individual.

  233. 233
    Animeraider says:

    If you’re going to get the epitome of all 70’s songs, you have to get the excess, the simplicity, the emerging understanding of other musical styles, and so on. There are a few:

    Wings – Live and Let Die
    The Edger Winter Band – Frankenstein
    Sweet – Love is like Oxygen
    Stevie Wonder – Living for the City
    Styx – Lady
    Elton John – Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
    Steely Dan – Do it Again
    Spinner’s Wheel (I may have the band name wrong) – Stuck in the middle with you

    Now that I’ve started there are just too damn many to mention. I’m a getting old damnit!

  234. 234
    Gravenstone says:

    Grew up listening to WOWO (1190 out of Ft. Wayne, IN). Bob Sievers and Jay Gould doing the morning farm show (Little Red Barn), Chris Roberts doing the afternoons and the slightly esoteric (for midwestern AM radio) Ron Underwood holding down the evenings. They liked to brag that their signal (50KW) was so strong they needed to adjust their antennas after dark to keep from blowing stations west of them off the air. They would also occasionally get caller from Europe in the evening shows because their signal would occasionally skip that far when conditions were right.

  235. 235
    Brachiator says:


    Danny Elfman was a truly sick individual.

    Still may be. A cousin claims to have seen Elfman as a teen perform in a Junior High School production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

    Who knew what the kid would become.

  236. 236
    geg6 says:

    I Wanna Be Sedated…the only reason I made it through the 70s without killing myself. Until 1978, there was nothing I liked.

    As for the difference between AM 70s radio and FM 70s radio, at least on FM you weren’t subjected to crap like “Wildfire” or “Afternoon Delight” or anything by Captain and Tenille. I could stand endless Led Zep and Pink Floyd as long as I didn’t have to listen to the awful pop music. But punk rock saved my life. Seriously.

  237. 237
    Spike says:

    It doesn’t get more 70s than this:

    Will It Go Round In Circles?

  238. 238
    Schlemizel says:


    We had this huge console radio – it got replaced by our first TV – that had several bands including short wave but I never found anything of interest there except a couple of stations that just read off strings of numbers for no apparent reason.

    I moved that sucker into my bed room after my brothers moved away and “channel surfed” away the nights too hot to sleep.

  239. 239
    Schlemizel says:

    @David in NY:
    Yeah WCCO was farm reports and boring old white guys telling lame Ole & Lena jokes.

    The only ‘cool’ thing they did was to introduce Bob Newhart to the world. He had released “Button Down Mind” and it wsa going nowhere. He was about to go back to accounting when ‘CCO played bits from it & got a huge response. That set his career on fire.

  240. 240
    geg6 says:

    Okay, after some thought…

    I liked Springsteen and Bowie the most of all through the 70s (until punk really hit and I fell in love). I also rocked out to Alice Cooper and the J. Geils Band.

  241. 241
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @RSA: Thank you for the link! Okay, I am now going to reveal just how much of a technology have-not I am. Do I need some special device to make the programs play? I don’t have an MP3 player or an i-anything. Got a laptop. And a tape deck. And a fair bit of vinyl. For reals….

  242. 242
    Not Sure says:

    Back when Pizza Hut was a sit-down restaurant, before Yum! Brands turned it into yet another generic pizza take-out/delivery chain indistinguishable from the rest, the one song playing on the jukebox when we arrived was either Ballroom Blitz or Bang A Gong (Get It On). As 70s as Mom’s gigantic station wagon that single-handedly caused the oil crisis.

  243. 243
    Linnaeus says:

    Everclear shares your love of AM radio.

  244. 244
    Steeplejack says:


    [. . .] a couple of stations that just read off strings of numbers for no apparent reason.

    Russki sleeper agents communicating with trawlers off the coast!

  245. 245
    Steeplejack says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    You can play them on your laptop with any “media player” program, e.g., Windows Media Player.

    Actually, on most computers, if you just double-click the MP3 file it will be played with whatever program is set up as your default media player. If you don’t have one, you will be asked for one.

  246. 246
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): The name is Jerry Haendiges.

    Dragnet was great on radio. There are 298 episodes available at the Internet Archive. These aired from 1949 to 1955, long before the show became a parody of itself in the late 60s.

  247. 247
    danimal says:


    Who knew what the kid would become.

    Farkin’ rich is what he became. Dudes’ getting scratch every time The Simpsons theme is on.

    It’s funny how the same decade contained Afternoon Delight, AOR stations playing Led Zeppelin 24/7 and the birth of KROQ. Actually these are probably related, as I think about it.

  248. 248
    gogol's wife says:

    @Death Panel Truck:

    But it was such a great parody. I love Jack Webb and Harry Morgan.

    ETA: I loved CBS Mystery Theater too. My mother and I used to listen to it while playing scrabble.

  249. 249
    Allen says:

    Anything by Harry Chapin, or “Angie Baby” by Helen Reddy–probably the creepiest song to ever hit number 1.

  250. 250
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Earl: “… green 1971 Ford LTD…”

    Anti-Establishment Mint or Lime Gold? Mine was a ’69 with Dresden Blue.

    It was da bomb. ;)

    ETA: ’71 model colors in green were Anti-Establishment Mint, Pinto Green, Light Green, Dark Green and Medium Green.

  251. 251
    Phoebe says:

    Fame by David Bowie, that is to say, not that horrific musical about narcissists,
    Lady Marmalade, original, duh,
    Jungle Boogie

  252. 252
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @Steeplejack: Thank you! I’ll give it a go!

    @Death Panel Truck: Ah, there’s the spelling. I was pretty far off….

  253. 253
    AnotherBruce says:

    how was 70s am radio different from fm radio?

    AM radio used to play top 40 hits over and over again, ad nauseam. FM radio used to play “Stairway to Heaven” over and over again, ad nauseam.

  254. 254
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:


    You nailed it.

  255. 255
    Bunker says:

    “More,More,More”-Andrea True Connection.
    It was prescient in the 70’s.

  256. 256
    bowz says:

    Lighthouse – One Fine Morning. transports me right back

  257. 257
  258. 258
    burnspbesq says:


    AOR stations playing Led Zeppelin 24/7

    Sounds like KLOS, pre-Mark & Brian.

    The late 70s were halcyon days for rock radio in this market. When I first came out here in the summer of 1979, there were five FM rock stations in LA (KMET, KLOS, KNAC, K-WEST, and KROQ), plus 91X from Tijuana, with noticeably different formats. And if you had a really good antenna, you could pull in KTYD from Santa Barbara.

    Course, it wasn’t all good. The anchors on the channel 2 6:00 news were Connie Chung and … (wait for it) … Brent Musberger.

  259. 259
    David in NY says:

    @Schlemizel: I sort of liked the farm reports – I remembered hearing them coming from my grandfather’s upright radio(!)* about six a.m., when we visited them in the little town up north.

    Or whatever you called a radio with real tubes in a big cabinet on the floor — maybe a record player in there somewhere as well.

  260. 260
    txg1112 says:

    For a comprehensive look at the history of FM I recommend
    “The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio” by Richard Neer. He was a DJ for the rock station WNEW in New York and had a front row seat for much of what went on.

  261. 261
    MoZeu says:

    @nastybrutishntall: Jeez, thanks for saying this. I was reading this thread in horror. Seriously, there are still that many people who haven’t gotten over hating disco and actually listened to it for once?

  262. 262
    MoZeu says:

    There are so many great tunes from the 70s, I have no idea how to choose just one. But I’ll throw out <a href=""Play that Funky Music as a strong contender.

  263. 263
    David in NY says:

    “Or whatever you called a radio with real tubes in a big cabinet on the floor—”

    God, you people covered everything — Svensker or somebody talked about console radios.

    I do remember massaging one of those to get Milwaukee from the center of Michigan the time Harvey Haddix had a no-hitter going into the eleventh inning for the Braves. Got screwed up somehow, I recall.

    ETA: Pitched 12 perfect innings for the Pirates against the Braves and lost. Anti-climax.

  264. 264
    danimal says:

    @burnspbesq: Yep. I remember the near-riots when KNAC switched to a heavy metal lineup and the civil unrest when KMET became a smooth jazz station.

    Is there a better example of falling up than Chung and Musberger?

  265. 265
    JenJen says:

    “Reminiscing” by Little River Band. I can still feel the cold chill of the hard school bus seats in January and that song blasting. The grade school bus driver loved her some AM Gold.

    Pretty much anything by Little River Band gives me that old-school AM Radio feel, come to think of it.

  266. 266

    And what’s your favorite distinctively 70s song? I’ll go with a two-way tie between Midnight at the Oasis and It Never Rains In Southern California.

    Cherokee Nation, by Paul Revere and the Raiders.
    Brandy, by Looking Glass.
    Horse With No Name, by America.
    Lido Shuffle, by Boz Scaggs.
    Whole Lotta Love, by Led Zeppelin.
    Uneasy Rider, by the Charlie Daniels Band.

    Dude, I could do this all night.

    Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, by Jim Croce.
    We’re an American Band, by Grand Funk Railroad.
    Our House, by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
    Heart of Gold, by Neil Young.
    Dancing in the Moonlight, by King Harvest.

    … and I am sitting in the way-back of the ’69 Ford station wagon with my sisters, singing along as we get dragged off to grandma’s house for Sunday dinner again, WBBF AM-950 coming through the tinny back speaker my dad put in because he was tired of us always yelling, turn it up, we can’t hear it back here …

  267. 267
    A moocher says:

    @justawriter: Chilliwack, Lonesome Mary Unless you grew up in Canada, you have never heard this, so don’t pretend.

    But for Canadian early 70s AM radio schlock, it was The Poppy Family. Then in in 76 on FM radio, I first heard George Thorogood, and the Tom Robinson Band, on the same show.

  268. 268
    A moocher says:

    @Comrade Mary: I totes agree. Hated it then, hate the memory of it now, will reach for my bazooka at the first hint of its treackly, air-brushed, Harlequin-Romance sentimentality.

    There is only one thing worse. That Song by Terry Jacks. I do not even except That Other Song by Don Maclean, may his memory every grow fainter.

  269. 269
    RSA says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    I’ll give it a go!

    Happy listening! They’re a lot of fun for me to listen to, in part because of the familiar talent from other media: Fred Gwynne, Frances Sternhagen, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn…

  270. 270
    hitchhiker says:

    I’m soooo late to this thread.

    Court of the Crimson King

    Where I lived there was no fm . . . and for a while when i was in high school (late 60s) the single am station had a rock and roll section that lasted from 3:30 to 5:30 pm every day.

    They played the Beatles, the Beach Boys, etc. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as fm until I moved away in 1970, but I lived for those voices from WABC finding my little transistor in the dead of night. They represented that other world that I was SO determined to find.

  271. 271
    Bill D. says:


    [re Afternoon Delight] Hear, hear! I have always hated that song with a passion, not least because it would come on the car radio when my parents were driving, and then that awful treacly tune and those stupid words would be stuck in my head for hours afterwards just freaking driving me insane.

    I’d rather listen to the Bee Gees (shudder) than hear that song, and that’s saying a *lot*.

  272. 272
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    To me, “You’re So Vain” is *the* power-pop song of the era. I heard it plenty on the car radio growing up, but only recently heard it for the first time through a really good pair of headphones; fantastic composition with both the lyrics and Carly’s voice dripping with a delicious toxicity, and very well recorded (to my ear, a lot of ’70s mainstream music is all about the “studio” sound, which often tended to insist on itself, but this recording doesn’t take it to the point of distraction – plus, I never knew Jagger did backing vocals, but he’s there, in nice, small doses).

    Also, too – yes, the Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive,” and I don’t say that as someone really into the disco-era sound or the Bee Gees in general (or, hell, ’70s music in toto, for that matter – I have many, many more faves from the ’60s and ’80s than I do the ’70s), but it’s a great “times are tough” song with Barry Gibb’s famous falsetto very well utilized and mixed.


  273. 273
    Amir Khalid says:

    I am disappoint. I read through this 270+ comment thread, an no one — no one! — thought to mention Carl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting.

  274. 274
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    Eek, how could I forget Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut.” I’ll forgive you if it drives you batty (like it does to my wife), but I love the how the charming little pop tune crescendos into this giant, semi-psychedelic wall of sound, the main component of which is Nilsson’s voice.

  275. 275
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    AND, also, too, Dan Aydroyd did a great SNL skit from back in the day – pity I can’t google up a clip. But this commenter gets the gist down well:

    Dan Ackroyd played the AM/FM DJ when he switching off from loud gabby morning dj coming of something like a Kiki Dee record on the AM side to the burned out 70s FM dj? “Awriiiiigh…comin’ down heavy from the Dead show last night…I’m a little high right now…we got some Sabbaaaaaaaath….”

  276. 276
    Karmus says:

    @Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn:

    I love the how the charming little pop tune crescendos into this giant, semi-psychedelic wall of sound, the main component of which is Nilsson’s voice.

    This, absolutely. Although he did achieve a certain level of notoriety and success, to me few artists deserve to be called “under-appreciated musical genius” more than Harry Nilsson.

    It’s been done to death, but how can the original “Without You” not rip your heart right out? Harry was amazing with his voice.

  277. 277
    Studly Pantload, the emotionally unavailable unicorn says:

    It’s been done to death, but how can the original “Without You” not rip your heart right out? Harry was amazing with his voice.

    Oh my Sketters, yes indeedy. You can’t play “Without You” and “Coconut” back to back w/o agreeing that his musical range was absolutely panoramic.

  278. 278
    RadioOne says:

    I don’t know. When I first started listening to the radio, AM was sports talk, local talk, and classical music and FM was pretty much organized into what we have today.

    As far as 70’s music goes, I’ve always liked the Grateful Dead, the Band, and Gram Parsons both with Emmylou Harris and with the Flying Burrito Brothers.

  279. 279
    jprfrog says:

    American Pie, maybe the best song from the whole era.

  280. 280
    Rico says:

    Lovin’ You – (the late) Minnie Riperton
    I Just Want to Celebrate – Rare Earth
    Free Ride – Edgar Winter
    Kodachrome – Paul Simon
    Lean on Me – Bill Withers

  281. 281
    felonious says:

    In the summer of 1972 in between semesters I found myself home on Long Island listening to Vin Skelsa on WLIR. He would customarily open his show with Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz saying, “Toto I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” and after four hours of free form brodcasting would conclude the program with Dorothy saying “Oh Aunty Em, there’s no place like home.” I have been a big fan of Skelsa ever since. As for the FM standard for the decade one would be in deep denial not to proclaim Steely Dan as the winner for their smooth sound and production. The Cornell Campus Store used the guitar break from “Turn That Heartbeat Again” as a bed for their advertising. As for real music I must anoint the Clash.

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    BruceJ says:

    @r€nato: Hotel California yeah!

    This was the anthem of that golden summer when I’d just graduated from HS, was headed to College…and had thre glorious months of freedom

    To this day that guitar intro takes me right back…

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