Two weeks forward, we see 13 songs hit the hot 100 for the first time, and I set a record by mentioning 8 of them.. At 99 the Smoky-less Miracles hit with Love Machine. At 98 we have the results of leaving your studio equipment on during sex, Donna Summer's Love To Love You Baby. The changing of Fleetwood Mac from obscure British band to international superstars begins with Over My Head coming in at 93. Kiss had peaked earlier in the year in the 50's with the studio version of Rock And Roll All Night, the live version begins its climb at 91. Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds enter the charts at 86 with my favorite song of theirs, Winners And Losers. David Geddes comes in with his tear-jerker follow-up to top dog Run Joey Run, the story-song The Last Game Of The Season (The Blind Man In The Bleachers). At 83, Glen Campbell follows up Rhinestone Cowboy with Country Boy (You've Got Your Feet In L.A.). and finally Barry Manilow comes in all the way up at 77 with I Write The Songs. The big dropper this week is Brazil, fresh from its top ten appearance, falling 19 spots to 63. Our big jumper, surprisingly not in the top 40 this time, is Wings with Venus and Mars/Rock Show, flying 33 to #51.
Let's look at our countdown of the 70's top albums next. We're up to December 18th of 1971, and the top album was Sly And The Family Stone's There's A Riot Going On! Originally intended to be called Africa Talks To You, the name was changed in response to the title of Marvin Gaye's classic What's Going On?. The Family was being torn apart by this point by creative tensions, record executives demanding product, the influence of the Black Panthers, Mobsters, and lots of cocaine and PCP. The increasingly paranoid Sly did most of the work on this himself, anf it allegedly shows in the murkiness of the excessive overdubs. Family Affair (#1), Runnin' Away (#23), and (you Caught Me) Smilin' (#42) were the singles off this lp, the last big hits the Family would score. After its two-week run, Carole King (who was still in the top ten with Tapestry) assumed the top spot with Carole King:Music, which featured one single (Sweet Seasons, #9) and the original of the subsequent hit by the Carpenters, It's Going To Take Some Time. Music was #1 for three weeks before overtaken by a juggernaut: Don McLean's American Pie. The title cut in 2002 was voted the 5th greatest song of the century, trailing only Over The Rainbow, White Christmas, This Land Is Your Land, and Respect. The other single, Vincent (Starry Starry Night), was a #12 hit in America and even huger all over Europe, including #1 in the UK. This is an album I have owned; I also recommend the side one songs Crossroads and Til Tomorrow. American Pie held the top for 7 weeks, ending on March 4th, 1972.
4 songs come into this week's top 40. At 40, up one, is James Taylor's Mexico. Leaping from 52 to 39 was the disco hit I'm On Fire (a song you'll remember if you hear it, I believe) by 5,000 Volts, a huge European hit which actually started out as the b-side of the record. Up 5 to 38 is Willie Nelson's classic Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain. And soaring up from 49 to 28, The Staple Singers with a slight variation on the Donna Summer theme, Let's Do It Again.
The number ones from other years feature is back in the 1's this week. In 1991 this week, Bryan Adams was at #1 with another of his power-pop hits, Can't Stop This Thing We Started; in 1981, top dog was Christopher Cross with the Theme to the movie Arthur, The Best That You Can Do. In 1971, Cher was on top this week with Gypsies, Tramps, And Thieves. 1961 had Big Bad John by Jimmy Dean on top; and in 1951, bandleader Eddy Howard had his second #1 song, Sin (It's No Sin). Howard, who hit in 1946 with To Each His Own, lost his popularity to the rock'n'roll era and died in 1963 of a cerebral hemorrhage, aged 49.
Two songs enter the top ten, two fall out. Dropping this week are Lady Blue (which I can't believe never went higher) from 8 to 15; and It Only Takes A Minute, slipping from its peak at 10 to 22. Also dropping, finally, this week is Feelings, sliding from 12 to 18 in its 22nd week on the charts.
My Top songs of the 70's countdown closes in on the top ten, and includes 2 songs on this week's chart. At 15 is this week's #16, My Little Town by Simon And Garfunkel; 14 is former top dog Sister Golden Hair by America. 13 is ELO's Telephone Line, a song that I first heard on a Thursday, debuted it at #1 one one my chart (only two songs ever got that) on Friday, and bought the single on Sunday (which was quite a trick in my family back then). #12 is this week's #13 song, the Bee Gees and Nights On Broadway. And at #11, the song that gives me my most vivid and intense mental image of where I'd like to be: Seals And Crofts' Summer Breeze.
One more stop before the top ten- the Almost-But-Not-Quite for this week. Bruce Springsteen peaks this week at 17 with Born To Run. This was allegedly his big-budget last chance to go from "critically acclaimed" to "commercially successful" and the album became such a perfectionist's nightmare for him that upon hearing the final product he threatened to "throw it out into the alley". However, the single began playing on Progressive and AOR stations and became such a big hit there that he got his picture on both Time and Newsweek. The album scored as well, reaching #3 and eventually being considered on of the greatest of all time.
Here we go, as they say on Bud Light ads. At 10 this week, up one, are the Captain and Tenille with The Way That I Want To Touch You. Slipping 2 to #9 are the Four Seasons with Who Loves You. Jumping from 13 to #8 is Silver Convention with Fly Robin Fly. Linda Ronstadt climbs 2 to #7 with Heat Wave. The Eagles are apparently going to take the slow way down yet again, dropping just 2 to #6 with Lyin' Eyes. War cruises up one more to 5 with Low Rider. Jefferson Starship steals a line from their song, going "right back where I found you" two weeks ago to #4 (up one) with Miracles. Holding again at 3 for the third week, the Spinners with Games People Play. And last week's top two switch positions this time; Neil Sedaka dropping to #2 with Bad Blood, and our new #1...
...Elton John with Island Girl.
That's a wrap for this week. See you next time!