HIT LIST 2: When AM Radio Still Roamed The Land

14th December 2016

Title: More Hot 100 Chartbusters of the 70s

Label: Ace

This is a compilation and, all things being equal, I hate compilations. When I used to write within in the computer games industry in the 80s and 90s, we attributed the general term of ‘shovelware’ to them. They costed nothing to make, featured nothing new and was an excuse to print money from dead stock. Money for old rope, in fact.


This single CD features 24 tracks and is a bit different. What you’ve got here is a selection of American AM – thats AM – radio Top 40 hits from the 70s. In many ways, this compilation is also the last hurrah for a hardware standard because FM radio was becoming ever more popular and dominant, leaving AM radio for talk radio, sports commentaries and the like, only.


Between 1970 and 1976, though, AM still reigned and was mostly aimed towards car drivers and portable radio listeners (in parks, beaches and so on) This was also a delicate time for the DJ. He was soon to be subsumed by the dreaded playlist. Here, he still had the power to create a hit or push the B-side while regional DJs could create a regional hit before that song broke nationally.


There are many stone cold classics here that you tend not to seen to often on compilations nowadays: Ace’s How Long, Dobie Gray’s Drift Away, Joe Walsh’s Rocky Mountain Way and Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods’ Who Do You Think You Are but there are plenty of other forgotten favourites including The Hollies’ Long Cool Woman, Alice Cooper’s Teenage Lament ’74 and Dave Loggins’ Please Come To Boston.


In sonic terms, the delicate cymbal taps on the extremity of the left channel during Ace’s How Long was one of many simple yet effective highlights. Audiophile’s will be pleased to hear a great sense of clarity from this silver disc with a wide and informative soundstage.