WABC’s All American Survey for Week of 21 December 1965

WABC’s All American Survey for Week of 21 December 1965 – Spotify

1. “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
The Byrds

It began in the spring with “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Out of nowhere, folk rock was born. A melding of what once was before the Beatles to that which came thereafter, no wonder Dylan went electric, he had no choice, he not busy being born is busy dying.

But the lyrics for this number came from Ecclesiastes, that was the word that spread throughout school, before there was a Wikipedia, when everything was word of mouth. Back when religion was dying, when “Time” asked whether God was dead, before it all flipped back in the next decade and our whole country took a right turn, remember when it was the musicians who were atheists, imagine the Grammys without everybody thanking God, these players believed in themselves, and credit Jim/Roger McGuinn for creating his own unique guitar sound, you immediately knew it was the Byrds.

2. “A Taste Of Honey”
Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

From “Whipped Cream & Other Delights”! We had this album at home, did you?

It was my first exposure to Herb, when he had his first hit, “The Lonely Bull,” my transistor was mostly used for baseball games. Not that I bought no singles, but it wasn’t until the Beatles broke that I became glued, it was the AOL of its day, remember 1995, when the masses went out and bought computers just so they could play online, it was just like that!

But in those days before Spotify it was a while before I heard the first hit, but at this late date I prefer “The Lonely Bull” to “A Taste Of Honey,” which I know by heart because it was right there, on the chart, in between…

3. “We Can Work It Out”
The Beatles

One of Paul McCartney’s best Beatle vocals. There were other records on the radio, but you bonded with the lads from Liverpool immediately, it was something about the vocals, as if they were just across the street testifying and you couldn’t help but pay attention.

Furthermore, the b-side was “Day Tripper,” whew!

4. “The Sound of Silence”
Simon & Garfunkel

We laughed at his name, we didn’t think it was real, this was in the era of bands adopting monikers for effect.

Talk about a winter song… Dark and introspective… We loved it, but we had no idea Paul Simon was a genius who would only get bigger, did I ever tell you I saw the duo open for Soupy Sales at Fairfield U? This was after the hits, but before “The Graduate”…

5. “Let’s Hang On!”
The Four Seasons

It was over.

I was a huge Four Seasons fan. My favorite was “Dawn (Go Away),” but at this point the act was running on fumes, this was a hit, but it did not have the gravitas of what came before, true, they survived the British Invasion, but not for long, kinda sad, I remembered “Rag Doll” from the year before, this was a lighthearted trifle compared to that masterpiece.

6. “Over and Over”
The Dave Clark Five

By this point we knew they were not the new Beatles, yet this was a smash featuring Dave’s drums but the key to the act was the ultra-cool, very talented Mike Smith, who has been lost to the sands of time, not helped by Mr. Clark’s refusal to license his music, why?

Dave Clark Five, Over and Over – YouTube

7. “I Hear A Symphony”
The Supremes

At this point they were a chart staple, this features an intimate vocal, it was a righteous smash but I still prefer “Come See About Me,” but at this point they could do no wrong, we expected them to have hits forever, but then Diana Ross went solo, how many lead singers leave to greater success, we believe in the act, we have an investment, it was THE SUPREMES!

8. “I Got You (I Feel Good)”
James Brown & his Famous Flames

This was long before Eddie Murphy made fun of him, before James got arrested and went to jail, this was when he was the king of black radio and most white people were ignorant as to his talent. This was the apotheosis, undeniable in every way, only in hindsight can we see how talented the man was, sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…

9. “Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)”
The Wonder Who?

Did I know this was the Four Seasons?

I don’t think so!

Never underestimate the power of a great song, even if this arrangement stripped the composition of most of its meaning.

10. “England Swings”
Roger Miller

We were UK crazy, it’s hard to imagine today’s America being infatuated with another nation this much, to the point where a country star testified about it, but Roger Miller did way back when in ’65. Still, my favorite number from this genre is “Next Plane To London” by the Rose Garden, with the airport announcement and everything.

11. “I Can Never Go Home Anymore”
The Shangri-Las

At first I didn’t remember this, but then…

The Shangri-Las got stuck in their own device, the teen angst backwater, this was one of their last gasps, they were close to done.

12. “Ebb Tide”
The Righteous Brothers

This was the kind of drivel that drove me nuts as I waited for the British Invasion hits on the radio, I’ve come to like the Righteous Brothers, which I did not back then, but this was a cheap shot, a cover of an old number, an old fogey trip to way back when that I did not need.

13. “Fever”
The McCoys

Rick Derringer was only eighteen, this was a new generation of musicians, who cared that this was a classic song, we were indoctrinated by “Hang On Sloopy” and we were glad to have more.

14. “As Tears Go By”
The Rolling Stones

This was a surprise, we expected the Stones to be dark and grungy, but this was sweet and meaningful demonstrating range we were not prepared for, this was a complete surprise after “Satisfaction” and “Get Off My Cloud,” it made the boys presentable to those turned off previously.

Furthermore, by this point we all had our guitars and this was one of the few songs that could be easily picked out and played, and we did.

15. “She’s Just My Style”
Gary Lewis & the Playboys

One of the great non-Beach Boys Beach Boys songs, the apotheosis of Gary Lewis’s career, the song was cowritten by Leon Russell, along with Al Capps, Snuff Garrett and Mr. Lewis himself, I loved this so much I bought the album, and tried to buy a shirt like the band wore on the cover.

16. “A Must To Avoid”
Herman’s Hermits

They were supposed to be done by this point, right?


The magic is in the way Herman spits out the words. This P.F. Soan/Steve Barri song is a tear, only eclipsed by its follow-up, “Listen People.”

17. “It’s My Life
The Animals

Vastly underrated, Eric Burdon needs his victory lap, a small man with a deep voice who sang the lyrics like they were the most important thing in the world, he made the songs his own, and never underestimate the bass work by Chas Chandler.

18. “Hang On Sloopy”
The Ramsey Lewis Trio

Back when jazz cats were still cool and rather than sample a record you just remade it in your own style.

19. “Make The World Go Away”
Eddy Arnold

We’d wince and push the button, not believing they were playing this dreck on our station, did fans of this stuff actually tune in to Top Forty, and one of the great things about Top Forty was they played mostly the Top Ten or Fifteen, so you rarely had to hear this, thank god.

20. “The Men In My Little Girl’s Life”
Mike Douglas


21. “1-2-3”
Len Barry

I loved it then and I love it now, it’s like Barry is a carnival barker who we cannot resist, when selling a song meant more than belting.

24. “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore”
The Young Rascals

The beginning of the American renaissance. The British Invasion was fading and the Americans were coming on strong and this was the great east coast hope, the Young Rascals, their initial single which was undeniable, the fact that this band is hiding in plain sight and not getting its deserved accolades is criminal.

47. “Flowers On The Wall”
The Statler Brothers

Lord only knows why this track is included in the online chart, which skips from #21 to #24 and then goes to this. In theory I should despise this song, this was back before country was rock and roll, when it was music made for the south before Nixon established his strategy and brought attention to what was going on down there, before that we just ignored it, but not this track, which is genius in that you hear it and you get it and every time it came on you could not turn it off, if for no other reason than you wanted to sing “Captain KANGAROO”!

Don’t tell me I’ve got nothin’ to do.

WABC All American Survey for Week of 21 December 1965

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