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


Friday, November 19, 2010

Step into my time machine week thirty

A big week ahead on Time Machine. Lots of debuts, a new #1, a wedding, and an album that was born in a barn. Before we take off to 1975, I'd like to direct your attention to the comments section of last week's episode, and the continuing discussion of the true origin of the song "Superstar". Steve Fischler and I are sniffing out the issue, and hopefully there will be more on this somewhat less than breaking news story coming soon.

We open with what seemed to be thirteen debuts- but one really doesn't qualify. That one is a subject we've mentioned before, Let's Live Together by the Road apples. Due to that intriguing name I had checked it out when it actually debuted a few weeks ago. It had dropped out of the hot 100 last week after peaking at 74, but re-enters this week at 89. The real debuts include: CW McCall's trucker novelty Convoy, at 98; Nazareth's excellent Roy Orbison cover, Love Hurts, at 95; America with Woman Tonight at 81; Bob Dylan's plea for wrongly convicted boxer Rubin Carter, Hurricane, at 87; Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes' dynamic Wake Up Everybody at 72; and way up at 69, Earth Wind And Fire with Sing A Song. Two songs tie for biggest drop, a mere 15 spots to 55 for last week's top 40 debut Peace Pipe by BT Express, and to 54 for Helen Reddy's former top 10 Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady. The big jumper was a real battle, with songs jumping 19, 22, 24, 32, and 33 notches NOT taking the title. The winner, as usual, awaits us in the top 40.

This week, we're in the 2's as we look at the #1s this week in other years. 1992's top dog was How Do You Talk To An Angel by Heights. 1982 had Up Where We Belong by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, from the movie An Officer And A Gentleman, at the top; 1972 had Johnny Nash with I Can See Clearly Now, a song I taught to my kids long ago. In my inaugural year of 1962, not surprisingly we find the ubiquitous Four Seasons on top with Big Girls Don't Cry. And in 1952, Patty Page led the charts with I Went To Your Wedding, which was the third of her 4 #1s and 11th of her 24 top 10's, a streak that ran from I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine (#8 in 1950) to Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (which hit, ironically, # 8 fifteen years later).

David Geddes leads off our top 40 debuts this week with Last Game Of The Season, up 22 to #40. Hot Chocolate comes in at 39, up 8, with You Sexy Thing; the Isleys leap 32 with the ballad For The Love Of You (which, of course, I didn't recognize). Our Big Jumper lands at 36 this week, up 41 notches from 77 a week ago- Sweet's Fox On The Run. The O'Jays come in at 35, up 22 with I Love Music; and the top debut, up 22 to #33, Barry Manilow's I Write The Songs.

Going to our #1 album countdown now, we're up to early March, 1972, when American Pie is dethroned by Neil Young's Harvest. (Did you know Neil's middle name was Percival? I'd a never guessed that!) In addition to the #1 Heart Of Gold and the #31 Old Man (both containing background vocals by Linda Ronstadt and the banjo-guitar pickin' James Taylor), it also featured AOR hits A Man Needs A Maid (one of two songs featuring the London Symphony Orchestra) and The Needle And The Damage Done (recorded live at UCLA). Some of the songs were recorded (for that proper ambiance) in a barn on the studio property, leading to this conclusion:
Mixing was done at both Quadrofonic and at Young's house. During playback at the ranch, Mazer ran the left channel into the PA speakers still in the barn and the right channel into speakers in the house. With Crosby and Nash beside him Young sat outside listening to the mix. When asked about the stereo balance, he called out, "More barn." (thanks yet again to wikipaedia)
Harvest would become the top selling album of 1972; yet it only held forth at #1 for two weeks. It was replaced by America's self-titled debut. This album had been released in 1971 without the unfinished Horse With No Name; once it began to catch fire, the album was re-released with Horse on it, and this time was #1 for 5 weeks. Along with Horse, this album featured the number 9 I Need You and airplay hit Sandman. Horse was hamstrung, so to speak, by both a misconception it was a drug song (horse being slang for heroin) and its similarity - intended- to Neil Young, whose Heart Of Gold it replaced at #1 in a weird twist of musical fate.
It was overtaken in late April 1972 by Roberta Flack's First Take. This album had just the one single, the #1 First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, but that was enough to propel it once the song was featured on the Clint Eastwood flick Play Misty For Me. Roberta would also spend 5 weeks at the top in the spring of 1972.

Two songs enter the top 10, 2 fall out. Dropping are Low Rider, from 5 to 11, and Lyin' Eyes, at last giving ground from 8 to 17. Not so willing to give ground this week is Feelings; it holds at 16 again this week, its 24th on the hot 100 ( longer than anyone else this week by 6 weeks) and 13th in the top 40.

Our almost but not quite this week is ABBA's SOS. I was a bit surprised that this was their third top 20 hit- my memory says second, but apparently I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do was before it. It peaks at 12 this week, and America was about the only place it charted that low (and it certainly didn't peak this low locally). It was #1 in Australia, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, and South Africa, and #2 in Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Mexico, and (?) Rhodesia.

Top Ten Time! The Staple Singers, horny lot that they are, jump 7 notches to #10 with Let's Do It Again. Natalie Cole climbs one spot to 9 with This Will Be. Up 4 to #8 is the Simon And Garfunkel reunion, My Little Town. Here's a note on this by Paul Simon, courtesy Wikipaedia:
Simon has stated that the song is not autobiographical; instead he says that it is about "someone who hates the town he grew up in. Somebody happy to get out."He has been quoted describing the writing of the song: "It originally was a song I was writing for Artie. I was gonna write a song for his new album, and I told him it would be a nasty song, because he was singing too many sweet songs. It seemed like a good concept for him." After playing the song for Garfunkel, the two decided to collaborate again in the studio on this one track.
Those ubiquitous Four Seasons hold at 7 with Who Loves You; Linda Ronstadt, who also shows up a lot, drops to 6, down from 4, with Heat Wave. The Bee Gees shoot up from 9 to 5 with Nights On Broadway. The Captain and Tenille slip from 3 to 4 with The Way That I Want To Touch You. Last week's top dog, Elton John's Island Girl, loses its hold on the top and falls to #3. KC And The Sunshine Band hammer their way from 6 to 2 with That's The Way (uh-huh uh-huh) I Like It; so that means our new top dogs are....

Silver Convention (at least the singing part of them) with Fly Robin Fly, a song that was "Run Rabbit Run" until mere moments before the recording. Kinda makes ya wonder where the rabbit was going to run to.

That's it for this trip. See you next week, and stay tuned for more "Superstar" news!

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