One of the pleasures of Top 40 radio in the ’70s and ’80s was the “station edit” of a current hit song to include the call letters of the station playing it.
In Chicago, we had a choice of hearing Reunion’s Life Is a Rock (“but WLS Rolled Me”)
… or the version played by its competitor, WCFL:
That was the apex of the phenomenon. But it came back intermittently throughout the decade.
Unfortunately, we don’t have audio proof online of the other ones I remember. In Chicago, I heard these on the AM powerhouses WLS and WCFL. and on the short-lived Top 40 FM competitor WMET (it switched formats before the ’70s were out). The Pointer Sisters’ Fire: “I’m riding in your car/You turn on WLS” Al Stewart’s Song on the Radio: “You’re on my mind/like a song on the radio (background singers singing, WMET)”
In 1977, the one-hit wonder group Q had a particularly odd twist on this in Dancin’ Man. Rather than inserting the call letters within the song lyrics, which would have been difficult if not impossible, the group did an edit at the beginning of the song, adding a line with call letters and a slogan. The one I remember was “WMET – the station for you.”
I’m sure Chicago wasn’t alone in this. On YouTube, there’s a video for a Life Is a Rock from WRC in Washington, D.C.:
The last song I remember doing this was the (mostly) tnocs-loathed 1985 chart-topper by Starship, We Built This City. (I say “mostly” because I do remember some people joining me in the “I like this song” camp.) I remember at least once hearing a version with a local DJ doing a variation on the patter a San Francisco disc jockey did in the original. (I preferred the original.) After that, it seemed to go away, perhaps as Top 40 radio itself became less market-unique and more homogenized.
What call letter edits do you remember?
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