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


Friday, October 15, 2010

Step into my time machine week twenty-five

Welcome to the twenty-fifth anniversary of Time Machine! This week, Yet another new number one, a lot of strange coincidences, a cameo by a Vice President of the United States, and not everyone makes it out alive. Sure you wanna go?

In a week where 16 songs hit the hot 100 and we only know 4, only 2 songs break into the top forty and we know 'em both! The four newbies are: You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate at 98; Our Day Will Come by Frankie Valli (who is still climbing with the Four Seasons higher on up) at 72; That's The Way I Like It by KC and the Sunshine Band (here's our first coincidence- Get Down Tonight just missed being the big dropper this week!) at 71 ; and my all time Simon and Garfunkel favorite, My Little Town, at 69. The big mover- just barely- is Silver Convention's Fly Robin Fly, jumping 28 spots to 52; the big dropper awaits in the top forty.

Our first special this week will be the countdown of my favorite 70's tunes. At 30 we find Crosby Stills Nash and Young with Carry On (which we'll hit again coming up); 29 is Dance With Me, which we'll see in the top ten coming up; 28 is Someone Saved My Life Tonight, which we recently had as a top dog. 27 is Baby Blue, the last hot 100 single for the star-crossed band Badfinger. It was written by their equally star-crossed and late leader Pete Ham.

By 1975, with no income and the band's business manager non-communicative, Ham became despondent and he hanged himself in the garage of his Surrey home. His blood alcohol was .27%. He was 27 years old. He left behind a pregnant girlfriend (his daughter was born one month after his death). Ham was a sensitive man. His suicide note had the statement "I will not be allowed to love and trust everybody. This is better." And an accusatory blast toward Badfinger's business manager, Stan Polley, with Ham writing: "P.S. Stan Polley is a soulless bastard. I will take him with me." Others of Polley's artist and business clients accused him of corruption over the years. News of Ham's death was not widely disseminated at the time, as no public comment was made by The Beatles, Apple Corps Ltd or Warner Bros. Records. (Wiki)

And at 26, you see we're getting close because here is what I believe is the greatest song of the rock era- Don McLean's American Pie.

As I said, we have a real short list of top 40 debuts this week, but they both fly into the chart. At 35, up 21 spots, are the Bee Gees with Nights On Broadway. And at 19- yes 19- up 27 notches, is Elton John with Island Girl.

The next Feature is our almost but not quite, and that would be Austin Roberts with his tear jerker Rocky. Austin got one of his first gigs when he was tabbed to be the lead singer of a cartoon band in development (a la the Archies) called the Mysterious Five. But plans changed, a dog got added, and soon he was singing the theme song for- you guessed it- Scooby Doo, Where Are You? The song Rocky actually peaked at 9 on Billboard, but here on the Cashbox charts, it peaks just one step short at 11.

Two songs make the top 10 this week in 1975, two drop out. The week's big dropper is former top dog Run Joey Run, and he runs down 22 notches to 31. Also, follow former top dog Fame drops from 8 to 15.

The Number one albums countdown takes us to late February 1971 and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar takes over the top spot. The double-album Rock opera featured three singles. Superstar by Murray Head and the Trinidad Singers was first released off the stage track and peaked at 78; Head then re-released it on his own and it hit 14 in 1971. More complicated yet was the song I Don't Know How To Love Him.

"I Don't Know How to Love Him" had originally been published with different lyrics in the autumn of 1967, the original title being "Kansas Morning." In December 1969 and January 1970, when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice completed Jesus Christ Superstar, Rice wrote new lyrics to the tune of "Kansas Morning" to provide the solo number for the character of Mary Magdalene (Rice and Webber's agent David Land would purchase the rights to "Kansas Morning" back from Southern Music for £50). [1] Now entitled "I Don't Know How to Love Him", the song was recorded by Yvonne Elliman which was completed between March and July 1970. (When first presented with "I Don't Know How to Love Him", Elliman had been puzzled by the romantic nature of the lyrics, as she was under the misapprehension that the Mary she'd been recruited to portray was Jesus' mother!)

Helen Reddy actually released her version before Yvonne's was rereleased from the album. result: Helen hit 13, Yvonne hit 28 with the version I prefer. In the UK, the scene repeated itself- the release was delayed just long enough for Petula Clark, of all people, to put out a version. Result: Yvonne hit 47, Petula 42. The third single off the album was Yvonne's Everything's Alright, which peaked at 92; but my fave off this album (which English teacher Mrs. Hursh played for us, I believe in Bible Lit class* ) was What's The Buzz. JCS was only up there for one week, took a 9-week hiatus, and returned at the end of April for two more weeks.

Why the hiatus? Because, Janis Joplin had died of a heroin overdose, and her last Album, Pearl, took over at #1. One song, Buried In The Blues, was actually recorded as an instrumental because Janis died before she could do the vocal track. In addition to the #1 Me And Bobby McGee, one of my favorite Joplin songs, Cry Baby, hit 42, and Get It While You Can (ironic, eh?) hit 78. After Pearl finished and JCS spent its last 2 weeks on top, Crosby Stills Nash And Young spent the week of May 15th, 1971, on top with the triple-live Four Way Street. In addition to versions of the groups hits (Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, Teach Your Children, Ohio, and Carry On*, it also had solo hits of the members, including Graham Nash's just-released Chicago, Stephen Stills' Love The One You're With, and Neil Young's Cowgirl In The Sand and Southern Man.

Now about this damned *: Carry On, which has been mentioned twice now, was also introduced to me by Mrs. Hursh, who lent me her Deja Vu album. Ain't coincidence grand?

This week's top ten leads off with the Ritchie Family's reggae/disco hit Brazil moving up 1 to #10. Sweet moves up one as well with Ballroom Blitz at 9. Up 5 from 13 to 8 is Jefferson Starship with Miracles; John Denver takes a big leap off the top dog seat, landing at 7 with I'm Sorry. Holding at six is Helen Reddy (her again, too?) with Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady.

Our look at the top dogs of other years this week is in the 8's. In 1998, we find the Barenaked Ladies who spent one week at #1 with, well, One Week. Also spending one week on top in 1988 we have UB40 with Red Red Wine, a Neil Diamond song that peaked at 34 in its first released in 1984, but hit the top when some dj discovered it might make a good dance tune for the clubs. In 1978 we have Exile with Kiss You All Over, which also received a new life in a slightly different form when Exile went country (but never re-released). 1968 saw the 5th of 7 weeks at #1 For what most people know as one of my LEAST favorite songs, Hey Jude by the Beatles. And 1958's #1 this week was Tommy Edwards with It's All In The Game. This classic was actually based on a melody written by Charles Dawes in 1912, years before he became Calvin Coolidge's VP. Lyrics were written some 39 years later, in 1951, but the first version that Edwards recorded peaked at 18. It was amped up for an early rock audience ( though hardly rock itself) in 1958 and it was this version that hit #1. It was the only top ten for Tommy, who died of a brain aneurysm in 1969 at the age of 47.

Home stretch now! As promised hours ago, Dance With Me by Orleans climbs 2 to #5; Lyin' Eyes is at 4 for the Eagles, up one; also climbing one is Games People Play by the Spinners, to #3. Neil Sedaka reaches #2, up one, with Bad Blood; and that means our new #1 (although Billboard, the spoilsports, peaked it at #4) issssss....

Mr. Jaws by Dickie Goodman!

Did you survive? Good! See you next week!

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