Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sweet 16 Radio

WAAM Radio in my hometown of Ann Arbor used to publish weekly music surveys that I would pick up in local record stores and department store record departments. In the 60s the charts went through 5 different designs. The oldest WAAM survey I have is from the week of September 27, 1965. It's 8 and 1/2 inches wide and 7 inches tall and has very crude black mimeograph print on white paper. It's called the WAAM Sweet 16 Sound Survey and lists the top 16 songs of the week, plus 2 pick hits.
Early in 1966 a new much more colorful design debuted. The survey is the same size as before but now has a red background with the station call letters in white. It still lists the top 16 songs, plus a pick 45 and a pick album. This design continued until June of 1967 when the WAAM Sound 16 Survey was created. It was smaller, measuring five inches across by 8 inches tall, but it lists more music - there are the top 16 singles plus the top 16 albums, along with a premiere single and premiere album. It also had a red background with the call letters in white.
In February of 1968 the design changed again. Still the same size, now it has a primarily white background with red borders.
The fifth and final design of the 60s premiered in May of 1968. Continuing the red and white color scheme, the survey measures 3 and 1/2 inches wide and 11 inches tall. Now the Top 32 singles of the week are listed, plus the top 16 albums, the premiere 45 and premiere album.
The very last WAAM survey of the 60s was dated September 6-12, 1968. No survey was issued on September 13 because early that morning, a fire destroyed much of the station's studios on Packard Road. At that time the station signed off the air between midnight and 6, so no one was in the building when the fire broke out. For the next 11 months the station operated out of a trailer in the parking lot until the studios could be rebuilt. WAAM would not issue another survey until 1972 when they switched to an around-the-clock Top 40 rock & roll format.
Above is one of the surveys from 1968. The number 3 song is by an Ann Arbor band that recorded for Detroit-based Hideout Records - The Talismen with Vintage NSU. It's a medley of 2 Cream songs, NSU and Sweet Wine. The lead singer of the group was Mike Lutz, who would go on to become the original lead singer for Brownsville Station. Mike continued the medley idea with his new band when they released Be Bop Confidential, a medley of Be-Bop-A-Lula and High School Confidential, as their second single. Although the Talismen record never made it on Detroit radio, the group lip-synched the song and the b-side, a cover of the Beatles' Taxman many times in late '67/early '68 on Robin Seymour's Swingin' Time TV show on Channel 9.