Back when disco and radios and albums were big

“I’m Casey Kasem, and this is American Top 40.”

Back in the dinosaur age, when kids listened to radios (instead of iPods), I was a kid who listened to the radio as she fell asleep. It had a sleep timer. Remember those?

On Sunday nights, the local KWAD radio station played American Top 40 with Casey Kasem.

This was 1979 when disco was still big. “My Sharona,” anyone?

One Sunday, KWAD did a call-in contest. The prize? The Top 40.

I vaguely remember dialing frantically (ha! dialing!), but I’m not sure I was frantic to win or frantic to avoid getting caught. As I recall, the Top 40 played until 10, which would have been after my bedtime.

In any case, I won.

So I walked down to KWAD’s radio station the next day to pick up my prize, and they handed me a pile of albums.

Shocking, I know. In an age when everything now is digital, it’s hard to imagine American Top 40 recorded the show on albums and shipped the albums to radio stations.

But they did. I got four albums. Forty hit songs. With Casey Kasem’s voice woven between.

As I recall, sisters played a big role in that week’s hits. Pointer Sisters? Sisters Sledge? I can’t remember.

In any case, it was a totally bitchin’ “Boogie Wonderland.”

KWAD’s Top 40 giveaway lasted about three weeks because I think this was actually illegal to, ahem, giveaway music this way.

Every time I heard Casey Kasem in the years that followed, I thought of this amazing cache of disco that I won. Including today. When I heard 82-year-old Casey Kasem had died.

Rest in peace, Casey Kasem. This is my long-distance dedication to you.

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5 responses to “Back when disco and radios and albums were big

  1. I lived for sunday nights back in the day, I had an AM radio hidden under my bed, and as soon as the door closed, it was on and tuned in- thanks for the memories!

    • Radios were so rebellious, yes? I remember hearing the Eagles “Witchy Woman” one night and thinking how risque those lyrics were.

  2. Missy Winter-Jernigan

    Oh how sweet! I absolutely love reading your blog! Rest in Peace Casey!

  3. yep, I also read my favorite author after lights out too, with a flashlight no less- Stephen King gave me many a nightmare back then but I still keep coming back for more- I am eagerly awaiting your new book!

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