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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Step into my time machine week twenty-three

Ready for another rousing trip through music trivia? This week sees cameos by Elvis and James Brown; a trip to the rock and roll hall of fame; a new number one song; bands working for the government; and if I'm not too exhausted by the end, perhaps a bonus "stupid people "story. Ready?

11 songs hit the hot 100 this week in 1975, including one by the interestingly named band the Road Apples. Me being me, I had to look into this group, who debuted at 94 with (a song that I didn't know but wasn't too bad) Let's Live Together. It seems that they were a Massachusetts band whose claim to fame was that they went on a cultural trip to Venezuela in 1976 for the group Partners of the Americas, a Kennedy-era social outreach that is still active today. The Apples played in drug paradises Medellin and Cartagena on their trip- and I hope I didn't use that word too loosely.

Anyway, the songs we might actually recall that debuted that week were 3: Silver Convention's Fly Robin Fly at 88; the Bay City Rollers' Saturday Night at 85; and a song we'll see high on my personal countdown of seventies hits, the Bee Gees with Nights On Broadway at 84.

Since I brought it up, let's do the next 5 on my top 100 of the seventies list. We start at 40 this week, with Albert Hammond's It Never Rains In Southern California; at 39 is England Dan and John Ford Coley's version of Love Is The Answer, a song I also love in its original version by Todd Rundgren and Utopia. SOS by ABBA is at 38; at thirty seven is the song that Billboard says was the first #1 one of the decade (though Cashbox switches it), Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head by BJ Thomas from the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid soundtrack. As I said, Cashbox flips weeks with Billboard here; they have this song the last week of the old decade and Someday We'll Be Together by the Supremes starting off the new. Personally, I think Billboard's way is much more appropriate symbolically. Finally at 36, we have Ringo Starr, backed by Badfinger, with It Don't Come Easy, one of my all time favorite guitar breaks.

The big dropper this week is one we mentioned not long ago, Gary Tom's Empire with 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Blow Your Whistle) which whistles down 29 to number 64. Our big jumper, continuing a growing trend, we'll meet in the top 40. Before we get there, I'll mention that we don't have an Almost but not quite salute this week- nobody fit the requirements very well. Anyhow, six songs blast their way onto airplay alley; the slowest of them jumped 8 notches to get there! At 39, up 9, is, ironically enough, SOS by ABBA. The slowpoke, This Will Be by Natalie Cole, moves from 46 to 38. At 37, up 15, are the Outlaws with There Goes Another Love Song; the Boss, Bruce Springsteen, comes in at 36, up 17, with Born To Run. A sweet little song that I had forgotten till I played it this morning, Olivia Newton-John's Something Better To Do, climbs 9 to 35; and our big jumper is our highest debut, leaping from 60 to 31- Low Rider by War.

Now let's cruise the tops of other years. This week in 1996 the top dog was Donna Lewis with I will Always Love You Forever. At this point the original Cashbox survey had three weeks of life left to it. In 1986, Huey Lewis and the News were on top with Stuck With You; in 1976, Cashbox had Boz Skaggs at #1 with Lowdown ( a song Billboard peaked at 3); in 1966, the Association was the top dog with Cherish. Doesn't the ending of that song just pull your heart along? And at number one this week in 1956 was week eight of all Elvis all the time, with seven more to go- Don't Be Cruel in the 4th week of a six week run, preceded by Hound Dog and followed by Love Me Tender. In fact, this same week, Hound Dog had just slipped to 5 after spending the last 3 weeks either at 2 or 3; I Want You, I Need You, I Love You had just dropped out of the top 40 to 43 in its 21st week on the (top 50) chart; and the King's cover of Blue Moon sat at 48 in its second week. And the next week, I Want You, etc., would drop out and be replaced by Love Me Tender at 40 and I Don"t Care If The Sun Don't Shine at 50.

Three songs go into the top ten this week, three drop out. The droppers are Wasted Days And Wasted Nights, falling from 6 to 20; Rhinestone Cowboy, from 5 to 18; and At Seventeen, from 4 to 15.

I'm going to detour here (no, not you, Chris!) and look at the recent nominees to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Those who know me know that I will never truly recognize the RARHOF until they pull their heads out and admit Kiss and the Guess Who. So you might gather this is going to be a critique.

Bon Jovi- I didn't think the Hall was for people with good hair. That's a no.

Alice Cooper- ummm... I could live with this.

Tom Waits- ?

Donovan- he'd be in mine... I'll let them decide.

Neil Diamond- what? Why isn't he already there??

LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Chic- puh-leaase....

J. Geils Band- good group, not good enough for me.

Donna Summer- hmmmm...

Dr. John- a nod to the hippie set. No.

Joe Tex- I wouldn't, but that's just me.

Laura Nyro- I was going to say no, until I realized her songwriting credits, including; Wedding Bell Blues and Stoned Soul Picnic for the 5D, And When I Die for Blood Sweat and Tears, Eli's Coming for 3DN, and Stony End for Barbara Streisand. A definite maybe.

Darlene Love- she was the actual singer on He's A Rebel, which last week's nutjob Phil Spector then credited to the Crystals (who had nothing to do with it), along with a lot of other stuff. Maybe a sympathy vote.

Chuck Willis- a bluesman, out of my genre.

Since I've wasted this much time, let's look at our next three number one albums of the 70's. We're up to mid July, 1970, where we have the live triple album Woodstock: Music From The Original Soundtrack And More- yes, mostly recordings from the concert. Among the tunes on this album were: Canned Heat's Going Up The Country, Sha Na Na (!) doing At The Hop; Crosby Stills Nash And Young's Wooden Ships and Suite:Judy Blue Eyes, Joe Cocker killing With A Little Help From My Friends; Jimi Hendrix's famous rendition of the Star Spangled Banner; and of course, Country Joe and the infamous Fish Cheer. Woodstock held forth for 4 weeks, finally yielding the top to Blood Sweat And Tears 3. This album spent two weeks at the top based on the anticipation of another great effort- an anticipation that was by and large let down by an album with too many covers and only two singles- Hi De Ho (which I was surprised to learn was a Gerry Coffin -Carole King composition) (#14) and Lucretia McEvil (#29). They were also bummed by the fact that they accepted a call from President Nixon (who wasn't considered terribly hip in the wake of Kent State) to go on a goodwill tour of eastern Europe about this time. It still managed to cling to the top for two weeks until being supplanted by Credence Clearwater Revival's Cosmo's Factory.

The name of the album comes from the warehouse in Berkeley where the band rehearsed. Bandleader John Fogerty was so insistent on practicing (nearly every day) that drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford began referring to the place as "the factory". (thanks Wiki.)

This album contained three double-sided singles: Who'll Stop The Rain/Travellin' Band and Looking Out My Back Door/Long As I Can See The Light, which both peaked at 2 (CCR holds the record for hitting #2 the most times without ever hitting number one) and Run Through The Jungle/ Up Around The Bend which hit #4. Cosmo's Factory had a nine -week run that ended the third week of October 1970.

Okay, now the Main Event. Coming in at 10, up 2 spots, is at long last Morris Albert with Feelings. (this was it's 17th week on the charts; oddly enough, Sweet's Ballroom Blitz was right behind them at 11 in its 16th week.) Roaring up from 22 to 9 are the Eagles with Lyin' Eyes (which would become their only top 10 country hit, peaking at 8); Orleans moves up 1 to 8 with Dance With Me. Also squeezing up one is Helen Reddy's Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady. Neil Sedaka blasts his way up 5 to #6 with Bad Blood, and the Spinners duplicate the move to #5 with Games People Play. Dickie Goodman swims up 3 to #4 with novelty hit Mr. Jaws. David Bowie learns fame is fleeting, slipping to 3 with last week's top dog, Fame. John Denver apologizes his way up one more notch to number Two with I'm Sorry. Which Means that our new number one (despite it's only peaking at #4 on Billboard) is, drum roll please... Run Joey Run , by David Geddes.

Before we go, here's that somewhat silly story from Fox News:

In a ploy to rid Guam of its population of invasive brown tree snakes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is bombing the island with drugged frozen mice, military news outlet Stars and Stripes reported.
Using Naval Base Guam as a starting point, scientists drop mice packed with acetaminophen from helicopters into the jungle canopy.
The drug -- commonly found in Tylenol -- provided a regulatory advantage because it had already undergone extensive testing, Dan Vice, assistant state director of USDA Wildlife Services in Hawaii, Guam and the Pacific Islands, told Stars and Stripes.
Guam’s snake problem began in the 1980s, when the creatures arrived on the island accidentally in military cargo. The mildly venomous snakes can grow up to 10 feet long and, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the State of Hawaii, are the leading cause of endangerment for some of Guam’s native animals.
“The discovery that snakes will die when they eat acetaminophen was a huge step forward,” Anne Brooke, conservation resources program manager for Naval Facilities Command Marianas told Stars and Stripes. “The problem was how you get the snakes to eat it.”
The solution was to drop the mice into the snakes’ natural habitat, the branches of trees in the jungles of Guam. By outfitting the mice with cardboard wings and green party streams, the bait could float down to the jungle and catch on the branches. The result is a hanging, deadly snack for the snakes.
Researchers began testing the system at the beginning of September, dropping 200 mice into 20 acres around the base, Stars and Stripes reported.
The effectiveness of the drop will offer insights into how well it might work elsewhere on the island -- and whether it might be a key to solving a longtime ecological problem, Vice said.

Wouldn't you like to be an unsuspecting native, standing there in the swamps of Guam, when suddenly a mouse trailing green streamers comes flying towards you on little cardboard wings, konking you in the head and giving you a concussion because he's frozen? Oh, well, if you had a headache when you came to, at least you could eat the mouse and get rid of it.


  1. CWM:
    Okay, now you've got me mentally humming most of those songs you mentioned...!
    (happy, now?)


    As to the mice thing...During WW2, the military DID want to use BATS with small incendiary devices attached to them to "bomb" Tokyo...
    (the bats were drugged to sleep prior to them being dropped)
    They just weren't FROZEN (ouchie)
    Of course, the gov't there COULD always have a bounty to have the snakes killed off (lotsa target practice)...

    Everything old is "once again NEW"???

    Weird stuff.

    Have a great weekend.

  2. Bob:

    Yes, now I AM happy. This is how we aliens work our way into your heads! It's like that Hulu thing...;)
    Glad you told me the bat story. Another proof how government is going downhill- from live "mice" with real wings to dead ones with cardboard ones. Everything's on the cheap anymore.

    Always a pleasure, thanks for stopping by.