Not that I want to fall flat on my face right off the top, but out of eleven hot hundred debuts, we're only going to mention 4- and I only knew 2 of those! Coming in at 97 was the George Baker Selection with Una Paloma Blanca. The song Somewhere In The Night comes in at 83- and 89. The higher one was by Helen Reddy; the second was by a duo I'd never heard of called Batdorf and Rodney. It was very well done- basically you can imagine the Helen Reddy song structure with the Barry Manilow vocals and you'd be close. Finding info on Batdorf and Rodney was a bit more difficult. However I did get the story- maybe more than I wanted- on John Batdorf's website. Digested for time, they met when Mark Rodney's brother heard John at some club and got together. Eventually they met up with Ahmet Ertgum of Atlantic and were signed. They were basically an instrumental jam acoustic band who record execs kept trying to turn into a new Simon and Garfunkel. Somewhere was released at the same time Helen Reddy's version was, and John claims that Helen's team bullied stations into not playing theirs "Or they'd never get another Helen Reddy record again." (which is amusing, since the only other hit of any great size she had after that was You're My World.) Also, execs were cutting Mark's vocals and he was getting pushed farther and farther out of the mix. John formed a new band called Silver, who were "forced" to do a song I loved called Wham Bam Shang A Lang, which we'll see next summer if TM's still around. He hated it, much like he dissed Helen's version of Somewhere, and that's basically the end of his story.
Anyway, the other stop here in the lower rungs this week was the highest debut- Olivia Newton-John doing a cover of He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. It was pretty much what you would imagine. Oh, and speaking of the lower rungs, the Road Apples move up from 89 to 74 with Let's Live Together- or to put it another way, right where they were 3 weeks ago before they fell off the charts for one week.
The big movers this week were easy to find, sitting right next to each other. The Big dropper was Born To Run, running down 31 notches to 65. At 66, up 32, is Bill Fries, or as you better know him, CW McCall, with Convoy. "CW McCall" was a character invented by Fries for an ad campaign for a bread company, and the trucker persona of McCall was the one he used in most of his hits- yes, there was more than Convoy.
Time to look at our #1 album countdown. We're up to the summer of '72, and Jethro Tull was at the top with Thick As A Brick. Meant to be a parody of progressive rock concept albums, it was one long 45 minute song, split on the vinyl album. In concert, it expanded to a 60-70 minute first half, followed by a 25 minute second side along with other tunes, with an ersatz "weather report" in the intermission. Thick held forth for two weeks until being replaced the week of June 17th by the Stones' Exile On Main Street. The group were tax exiles at the time, and recorded in the basement of a rented villa in Nellcote, France. It was scrabbled together in between bouts of extreme drug use and police raids, and contained the singles Tumbling Dice (#7) and the Keith Richards' vocal Happy (#22). It spent 4 weeks at the top, and yielded on the week of July 15th to Elton John's Honky Chateau. Also recorded in France at the Chateau d'Herouville, it contained the #6 Rocket Man and the #8 Honky Cat, and spent 5 weeks at the top.
Coming into the top 40 this week were 5 tunes. Alice Cooper climbs a notch to 40 with Welcome To My Nightmare. David Ruffin walks up from 57 to 39 with Walk Away From Love. Gladys Knight and the Pips move up from 42 to 34 with Part Time Love, a song I didn't know and sadly didn't remember 2 minutes after I played it. The other two rip into the countdown: Diana Ross' Theme From Mahogany knew where it was going to- from 52 to 28; and the Love Rollercoaster that the Ohio Players were riding rolled up from 44 to 23.
Our almost but not quite is a bit of a tricky subject. John Denver's Calypso was the b-side of his #1 I'm Sorry. As such, Billboard considered it the second half of a 2-sided #1. Cashbox, however, separated the two, and this week Calypso falls from a peak of 26 to 38. So it's either a top dog, or an almost but not quite, depending on how you look at it.
Two songs go into the top ten, 2 fall out. The droppers are Who Loves You, from 7 to 12; and Heat Wave, from 6 to 22. Also in this area, what might be the last report on Feelings; it drops from 16 to 22 in its twenty-fifth week.
Coming in at 10, up 5, is Jigsaw with Sky High. Jigsaw (or the British Jigsaw, as they were known in Australia) was an English band who had evolved from a wild, instrument-burning stage act to a pop band who did the original of the Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods hit Who Do You Think You Are. Natalie Cole holds at 9 with This Will Be. Coming in at 8, also up 5, are the Bay City Rollers with Saturday Night, a song that failed to chart in its first version in the UK a year before, and the reworked song was never released in Jolly Ol', making its money everywhere else in the world. Simon and Garfunkel (the real ones) move up 1 to 7 with My Little Town. The Way That I Want To Touch You moves down 2 to #6 for the Captain and Tenille. The Bee Gees hold at 5 with Nights on Broadway. Pop Staple and his daughters shoot up 6 to #4 with Let's Do It Again; Elton John hangs on to #3 with Island Girl. Silver convention falls off the perch to 2 with Fly Robin Fly; which means we have a new top dog! At #1, up one spot...
KC And The Sunshine Band, with That's The Way I Like It!
So it goes this week. See ya next time!