Monday, September 1, 2008

590 MIGHTY MEMORY #587





















PHOTO INDEX: THE FVE INCARNATIONS OF THE POPULAR WARM SURVEY SHEET. THE FIRST SHEET OFFERED BY THE STATION was an 8 1/2 BY 11 SHEET OF PAPER, THE ONES IN ASCENDING ORDER WERE POPULAR WHEN I WAS IN GRADE SCHOOL AND THEN HIGH SCHOOL.

SURVEY SAYS

Never in the pop culture of teenagers growing up in WARMland was there a more sought after piece of paper than the weekly WARM Music Survey sheet. It usually came out on Fridays, just in time for the Saturday countdown show from 1pm to 6pm. In my youth, Ron Allen did the top 40 countdown every Saturday afternoon. Back then Catholics had no Saturday night Mass so the last half hour of the show was listened to by WARM listeners who wanted to know the top song of the week. There were times when WARM caused some consternation by not getting the sheets into the stores on time. Gulp, sometimes you got them on Monday but even if you knew the number 1 song, you just had to have one. The survey sheets were available wherever records were sold. You could drop by The Globe or Spruce Street Records in Scranton, Richie’s Record Rack or the Kresge Store in Pittston (the manager at the Kresge Store delighted in not putting the sheets out when they were available and harshly rationed them out. God forbid if you took a handful, he’d chase you out of the store!) Miracle Mart in Kingston, The Book and Record Mart in Wilkes Barre, or The Square Record Shop to get your hands on one. As a youth, I rooted actively for my favorite groups to take the number 1 slot. In 1965 I had a “two for” when the 4 Seasons hit the number 1 spot in November 1965 with “Let’s Hang On” and then repeated the feat with their version of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice” under the name The Wonder Who. In the 60s by the way, whatever your favorite group was, you just never rooted against the Beatles.
The survey sheet was compiled by the Music and Program Director. They took the national trends, called around to the local record stores, got the sales figures, tabulated input from phone calls to the station and came up with the list. When you look now at a WARM survey sheet, you’ll see everything from the Rolling Stones to Gary Lewis and the Playboys to Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Eddie Arnold on one given compilation week. That tells me that while most people were listening to WARM, the powers that be who formulated the Surveys also listened to the voice and taste of the listener.
There were five incarnations of the WARM survey sheet. The first an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet, the second a smaller long sheet with the photo of a member of The Sensational 7, the third with an artist’s rendering of the personality and the fourth and fifth editions were small red, white and blue versions, first with a photo, then a artist’s portrait. Some of us saved many of the WARM survey sheets, one or two people might have saved every one. The secret of the success of WARM was to make the small details other stations ignored a “must have”. By 1960s printing standards, it was a minuscule financial investment. But the free survey sheet was worth its weight in gold to young music fans that would gather every Monday and discuss where their favorite group or song landed on Ron Allen’s Countdown. And just in case any of your peers doubted your claim, you had the survey sheet to prove it! From You Tube, the number 1 song on November 13th, 1965 (Ron Allen was on the sheet) Barry Young’s “One Has My Name, the Other Has My Heart”.




And from October 15th, 1966, the number 40 song in the Countdown, "Girl On A Swing" by Gerry and the Pacemakers. Don't believe me? Hey, survey says man!

2 comments:

Vince Sweeney said...

Dirty little WARM secret #1...

Half of the songs on those charts, Dave, never saw the light of day. They were what's called in the record industry a "paper play."

In an effort to keep record promoters happy, therefore guaranteeing an uninterrupted flow of 45s, there were a lot of "paper plays," songs that showed on charts yet were never played - and I mean not played even once. The record promoters knew it full, they didn't care so long as a single showed on a chart.

Believe me, even in the good old days the research involved in assembling these charts was minimal. There was no need for it to be rocket science, just see what Billboard and Cash Box charted and play it. It really was that easy.

And most of those cheap-o charts were run off on a mimeo machine. It was part of the office managers weekly routine.

There you have it. Plain, simple, and true.

Anonymous said...

Awesome...listed to the countdown every week...have charts from 63-69...lived in Endicott..Collected both WENE and WARM surveys weekly