DEAR JERRY: For most of the Golden Age, I was a Top 40 dee jay and music director. Part of my off-the-air duties involved keeping up with the industry news and the music charts.
In the early '60s, I recall thinking how easy it would have been to create the Rhythm & Blues surveys, since most of the black music hits were also among the Hot 100.
Simply take the Hot 100 from the top, skipping over the non-R&B hits. What remains are your R&B hits. The order of those songs would be correct, as long as the Hot 100 were accurate,.
Is it possible to go back now and see if this is really how they did it?
Herb Kline, Gary, Ind.
DEAR HERB: As a former disc jockey and MD (music director), one who hung his First Class Radio-Telephone License at 14 different stations in the '60s and '70s, I can confirm that most MDs relied in part on the Billboard, Cash Box, and Record World music charts to create their own surveys.
Other factors were phone requests and reports from local record retailers on what was selling.
It would be extremely rare to find a local or regional survey that is a line-by-line copy of one of the trade mag charts. Even if the tunes were the correct order, it would give the appearance of laziness.
The quick and easy solution was to just shuffle a few of the titles around.
Yes, it is possible to flash back to the Golden Age. Let's make it a 52-year journey, to February 1962 when the whole world was twisting.
As for your theory, the logic behind it is indisputable, but that does not appear to have been the strategy.
At that time, the R&B chart had only 30 positions. If they simply lifted the 30 highest R&B records from the Hot 100, they would have needed to go from No. 1 to No. 75, disregarding the 45 non-R&B selections.
There are two interesting ways to compare the two charts for the first week of Feb. 1962.
First we'll list every one of the qualifying songs on the Hot 100, in order, followed by their spot that week on the R&B Top 30. Instead of a position number, songs not on the R&B chart that week may have one of the following: PE (a Previous Entry); LE (a Later Entry that charted in the weeks ahead); and NA (Never Appeared on an R&B chart).
Hot 100 / R&B Top 30
1/9 "Peppermint Twist" (Joey Dee and the Starliters)
3/5 "The Twist" (Chubby Checker)
5/1 "I Know" (Barbara George)
7/3 "Duke of Earl" (Gene Chandler)
8/12 "Baby It's You" (Shirelles)
10/13 "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (Tokens)
11/23 "Dear Lady Twist" (Gary (U.S.) Bonds
21/7 "Unchain My Heart" (Ray Charles)
22/NA "Shadrack" (Brook Benton)
24/22 "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody" (James Ray)
25/6 "Letter Full of Tears" (Gladys Knight and the Pips)
27/LE "Do-Re-Mi" (Lee Dorsey)
32/8 "Turn on Your Love Light" Bobby Bland
33/20 "Smoky Places" Corsairs
34/11 "I'm Blue (The Gong-Gong Song)" Ikettes
37/28 "Tuff" (Ace Cannon)
40/NA "The Greatest Hurt" (Jackie Wilson)
43/29 "Let Me In" (Sensations)
44/4 "Poor Fool" Ike and Tina Turner
46/NA "Chip Chip" (Gene McDaniels)
50/14 "Please Mr. Postman" (Marvelettes)
52/LE "Hey! Baby" (Bruce Channel)
54/PE "Let's Twist Again" (Chubby Checker)
55/30 "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" (Crystals)
62/18 "What's So Good About Goodbye" (Miracles)
63/2 "Lost Someone" (James Brown and the Famous Flames)
69/NA "It Will Stand" (Showmen)
70/LE "Twistin' the Night Away" (Sam Cooke)
73/LE "Twistin' Postman" (Marvelettes)
75/NA "There'll Be No Next Time" (Jackie Wilson)
78/LE "Cry to Me" (Solomon Burke)
81/NA "A Little Too Much" (Clarence Henry)
88/NA "Nite Owl" (Dukays)
91/NA "My Melancholy Baby" (Marcels)
94/24 "Jamie" (Eddie Holland)
95/NA "Ecstasy" (Ben E. King)
97/NA "I Surrender Dear" (Aretha Franklin)
100/LE "Sugar Babe" (Buster Brown)
We have accounted for 21 of the R&B Top 30, leaving nine hits not on the Hot 100 that week.
For these, we indicate their R&B position followed by either PE (a Previous Entry no longer on the Hot 100), or NA (Never Appeared in the Hot 100):
R&B Top 30 / Hot 100
10/PE "Just Got to Know" Jimmy McCracklin
15/PE "Soothe Me" (Sims Twins)
16/PE "But on the Other Hand Baby" (Ray Charles)
17/NA "Baby Don't Leave Me" (Joe Henderson)
19/NA "So Mean to Me" (Little Milton)
21/NA "Don't Throw Your Love on Me So Strong" (Albert King)
25/NA "The Roach" (Gene & Wendell with the Sweethearts)
26/PE "Revenge" (Brook Benton)
27/PE "Moon River" (Jerry Butler)
Note that there isn't a single instance that week of a record holding the same chart position on both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart.
IZ ZAT SO? To review which R&B records were on the local chart in your area (Chicagoland), we chose the WGES Top 30. At 1390-AM, this was the home of such characters as Al Benson, "The Godfather of Chicago Black Radio," and Richard Stamz, "The Crown Prince of Disc Jockeys."
Surprisingly, nearly half (14) of the tunes on their Top 30 do not appear on either of the above lists.
12. "The Town I Live In" (McKinley Mitchell)
13. "Rough Lover" (Aretha Franklin)
14. "Mean to Me" (Joyce Davis)
15. "Back Door Blues" (Eddie Vinson)
16. "You Don't Love Me" (Willie Cobb)
17. "Hung Down Head" (Lowell Fulson)
18. "Sugar Baby" (Paul London)
19. "Play the Thing" (Marlow Morris)
22. "What I Don't Know" (Maxine Brown)
25. "The Roach" (Calvin Carter) (Instrumental version of the Gene & Wendell tune)
27. "Kinda Think He Does" (Carla Thomas)
28. "Now You Know" (Al & Nettie)
29. "Do You Know How to Twist" (Hank Ballard)
30. "Funny How Time Slips Away" (Jimmy Elledge)