The divide between top forty AM radio and free form FM broadcasting went out with the rotary phone. Old AM pop is now part of the mosaic at WFMU--one of the few remaining beacons of FM free form radio
The Partridge Family is quintessential early seventies AM pop. On Underwater Theme Park, Meghan played their theme song, "Come On, Get Happy," next to "Shiny, Happy People," by R.E.M.. The R.E.M. track became "classic rock" radio fare long after most AM radio became talk stations. It's unlikely you've heard these tracks juxtaposed. Meghan's segue works because it links the female vocal in the R.E.M. track to the Partridge's high harmonies.
On 100% Whatever, Mary Wing played a track by the 5th Dimension that was not a hit, a cover of Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love," next to the dark electronica of Broadcast. The tracks have a diametrically opposed energy, which gives the segue a strong surprise element. A set on Nazario Scenario grouped more closely related music: the scrappy garage pop of Paul Revere And The Raiders before hard rock by Skip Spence.
FM DJs have always done sets with thematic links. Joe Belock on Three Chord Monte taught AM songs FM tricks, grouping songs about the end of summer by Dusty Springfield, The Raspberries, Stevie Wonder and Johnny Rivers.
Rob Grill of The Grass Roots recently died. Bob Brainen played "Things I Should Have Said," to mark Grill's passing The band used folk and pop and blue-eyed soul to create tracks tailored for 1960's AM radio. Diane played a set of their hits on Kamikaze Fun Machine, followed by The Minutemen.
I would never ambush you with an oldies hit parade post on the WFMU blog. But I hope these archives shine new light on some of the better top forty music that got dismissed in the heyday of free form FM radio, so long ago.