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


Friday, October 29, 2010

Step into my time machine week twenty-seven

Well, here we go on another trip to 1975, and the question is: will Neil Sedaka hang onto the top spot? Will the Eagles succeed in their last gasp attempt? Or does someone new step into the picture? Let's find out.

9 debuts hit the hot 100 this week, and three of them are of note: Al Martino scores with his disco version of Volare at 92; Diana Ross comes in at 88 with the Theme To Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To?) ; and Wings come in at 84 with the rowdy Venus And Mars Rock Show. Ironic, I guess, because they also have the big dropper this week, Letting Go dropping from its peak of 41 down to 68. The big mover, as it has several of the last few weeks, lies ahead in the top 40.

The almost-but-not-quite this week goes to another one of those star-crossed bands, the Outlaws, with There Goes Another Love Song. It peaked last week at 26 and is on its way down now. On Billboard it went only to 34, and their biggest Billboard hit was Ghost Riders In The Sky which went to 31. Three of the original five members have passed away: Billy Jones, one of their 3 lead guitars, o.d.ed in February of 1995, and bassist Frank O'Keefe committed suicide just 19 days later. Guitarist and vocalist on Love Song and on Green Grass And High Tides, Hughie Thomasson died of a heart attack in his sleep just 3 years ago, after leaving a ten-year stint with Lynyrd Skynyrd to reform the old band.

I mentioned irony a bit ago, and it hit while I was looking up the other years at #1 as well. This week we're back on the 0's, and while Laurie was watching the Vanilla Ice Project on DIY (yes, he's doing remodels now), I found that Ice Ice Baby was the #1 song this week in 1990. In 1980 the top dog was Barbara Streisand (with a big boost from Barry Gibb) with Woman In Love; the Jackson 5 held the top in 1970 this week with I'll Be There; in 1960, the Drifters were in the 3rd of six weeks at #1 with Save The Last Dance For Me; and in 1950, the folk band the Weavers, with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra, were at #1 with their cover of the r&b hit by Leadbelly, Goodnight Irene, which lyrically was not your typical 1950's tune (Some times I live in the country/Some times I live in town/Some times I take a great notion/To jump in the river and drown). Leadbelly was not a happy man when he wrote it, and the Weavers actually cut out some of the worse lyrics.

5 new songs enter airplay alley. The Bay City Rollers are up 14 to 39 with Saturday Night. The Manhattan Transfer, famous for their remake of Boy From NYC, are up 6 to 38 with the gospel -flavored Operator (Give Me Jesus On The Line). Longtime r&b artist Leon Haywood got his first top 40 hit with I Want To Do Something Freaky To You, up 6 to 36(and though I know it had nothing to do with it, our next irony is a song with such a name hitting the charts on Halloween weekend). Frankie Valli, once again in full can't-get-away-from -him mode, comes in at 34, up 7, with Our Day Will Come (and we'll see him again in the top 10). And finally, our big mover of the week climbs 30, from 49 to 19 this week- That's The way I Like It by KC and the Sunshine band.

Four more weeks of my top songs of the 70's countdown. We start at #20 this week; I'll Be Good To You by the Brothers Johnson. Number 19 is a recent time machine guest and a member of the "mythical top ten", Chicago's Old Days. Manfred Mann' Earth Band is at 18 with, of course, Blinded By The Light. Paul McCartney sails in at 17 with Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey; and at 16 is Todd Rundgren with Hello It's Me.

Three songs enter the top 10, three drop out, with a vengeance. Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady falls from 5 to 26; Mr. Jaws sinks from 6 to 27; and Dance With Me waltzes down from 7 to 30. In a note from the other direction (aka the dead continue to rise) Feelings moves UP 3 to #12 in its 21st week on the charts... and, for the third time- it has the bullet!

Our look at the number one albums of the 70's brings us to the unusual circumstance of 2 straight one-week toppers. We are at, ironically (our theme today, apparently) Halloween week, 1971, and pulling into the top spot is John Lennon's Imagine. Most people who know me know that the #1 title track is one of my least favorite songs of all time. I always have to wonder how John's coming out with that whole "imagine no heaven and no hell " thing these days. Among the other notables on this album is a tune called How Do You Sleep? Which was a response to Paul McCartney's sideways jabs at John on his album Ram. John, though, took things to the next step; and though George Harrison (presumably) gritted his teeth and played slide guitar on the track, the visiting Ringo Starr on listening to the rehearsals, said, "John, that's Enough," and left. Despite being Lennon's most critically acclaimed album, it was knocked down after one week by Isaac Hayes' Shaft soundtrack. This double album was, but for three songs (including the #1 title track and the top 40 Do Your Thing), an all instrumental album, featuring Hayes' score for the movie. Come to think of it, the main theme and what I heard of Do Your Thing this afternoon were pretty much instrumental as well. That brings us to November 1971 when Santana III took over for the next 5 weeks. This album featured the #12 Everybody's Everything and the #36 Nobody To Depend On, which we get to hear several times a week on the cd player at work. Both featured the guitar work of Neal Schon, who would leave Santana the next year to help found Journey.

Top ten time! Coming in at leadoff is the brother-band Tavares with It Only Takes A Minute, moving up from 12. Linda Ronstadt climbs 8 big notches from 17 to 9 with Heat Wave. Coming in at 8, up 3, is Leon Russell with Lady Blue. Russell was a songwriter of great variety, from the early version of what would become the Carpenters' Superstar (with Bonnie Bramlett of Delaney and Bonnie) to George Benson's This Masquerade, and was the piano player on Badfinger's Day After Day. At number 7, the promised appearance of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, with Who Loves You, up 2. War rises hydraulically from 10 to 6 with Low Rider. Now, everybody take on step backwards: Jefferson Starship, down one to 5 with Miracles; Eagles, down one to #4 with Lyin' Eyes; and Spinners, down one to #3 with Games People Play.

And now, time for one final irony, the top two songs feature one man as a backup on the one and the lead on the other. At number two, up from 8th this week, is Elton John with Island Girl. and at number one for a second week- with Elton John singing along on the chorus- is Neil Sedaka with Bad Blood.

Thanks to Getty Images for the pic. Same time next week, eh?

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