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

SOCK IT TO ME BABY!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Time Machine Thanksgiving Special

So here I am sitting by myself (boo hoo) on Thanksgiving eve when it comes to me to do a special about all the #1 songs of Thanksgiving week. Well, first the size becomes daunting, so I decide on the top ten Thanksgiving #1's. Then it becomes a matter of what era, and do I include songs I don't know; so I shortened the list to songs from the eras I knew best (1955-1989). This eliminates my need to listen to them to see if I knew them, and lobs off the 1990's crap like Boyz 2 Men that got tons of week at #1 with no discernible talent involved. Next- is it going to be the greatest hits, or my favorites? To make it based on time at #1, I'd have to include several of my least favorite songs, notably the stretch including 1977 (You Light Up My Life), 1978 (You Don't Bring Me Flowers), 1979 (Babe) and 1981 (the biggest cringer of the lot, Physical). Not to mention, I'd have to deal with other gaggers such as the amazing we-aren't-really-singing Milli Vanilli (Blame It On The Rain, 1989); as well as some that I like better than many people, such as Starship's We Built This City (1985), which in 2004 was voted by Blender Magazine as the worst single record in history (they were a little closer with some others on the list; Don't Worry, Be Happy was #2, and Achy Breaky Heart was #7).


So it evolves into a hybrid of the greatest songs that I actually like, or something along those lines. I hope you'll enjoy it.





10. The Rain, The Park, And Other Things- The Cowsills (1967). Probably better known as "I love the flower girl", This pretty harmony by the family that inspired some hack to invent the Partridge Family (whose I Think I Love You was the 1970 #1) was a true family effort, with 4 brothers, (I think, I lost track) a couple sisters, and Mom, with Dad managing the group.
Notable here includes lead singer Bill getting fired by dad (ironically known as Bud) for smoking a joint- a curious thing happening to the group that sang Hair. Also, John was a member of Tommy Tutone when they hit it big with 867-5309. The group has had much tragedy: Brother Barry was a victim of hurricane Katrina, and the family learned at his memorial that Bill had passed as well.





9. Big Girls Don't Cry-The Four Seasons(1962). Boy, these guys get involved in everything, don't they?
This tune made Frankie and the boys the first act in history to hit #1 with their first 2 chart hits.





8. You Send Me- Sam Cooke (1957). This first hit for Cooke is one of three songs in this list that were originally b-sides. The qualifications for A&R man must be as stringent as those for FCS poll voter.







7. Family Affair- Sly And The Family Stone (1971). In a list where many things are not what they seem, the only members of the family on this recording were Sly and sister Rose. For more about this song, go back a couple TMs ago when I featured There's A Riot Going On on the album countdown.







6. Mr. Blue- Fleetwoods (1959). I swear that Gretchen Christopher sounds just like Jane Jetson on this song. When it hit the top, the Fleetwoods became the first act to have 2 number ones in a single year.






5. Big Bad John- Jimmy Dean (1961). Another b-side (I well remember the flip- I Won't Go Hunting With You, Jake [But I'll Go Chasin' Wimmin]),
Dean wrote this at a point where his record company was about ready to drop him for lack of hits. Soon later, he was selling sausage and hunting injuns with Daniel Boone.





4. Sixteen Tons- Tennessee Ernie Ford (1955). I was really conflicted about putting this here- it could have just as easily been #1. The third of our b-side-cum-hit-songs.






3. Are You Lonesome Tonight- Elvis Presley (1960). Here I gotta show you the story about the International Hotel version. From Wiki:


Elvis, occasionally during live performances, would randomly change lyrics to give them humorous connotations. One popular instance was recorded at the International Hotel in Vegas on August 26, 1969. During the performance, instead of singing: "Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there", he sings "Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair". Moments later, he saw a bald man in the audience (as legend has it), and burst into laughter which continued into the next lines. The audience was treated to additional laughter during the spoken verse singing: "You know someone said that the world's a stage, and each must play a part." Seeing the irony of his own lyrics, Elvis was again overtaken by laughter and barely recovered. The audience enjoyed the sincerity of the moment while Elvis regained his composure. Meanwhile the band and backup singers continued to keep the song going. It is speculated that much of Elvis' mirth derived from the solo backing singer whose falsetto remained resolute throughout. To this, Elvis comes back just in time for the line: "And I had no cause to doubt you" followed by more laughter. So overtaken, Elvis encourages the backup singer to "sing it, baby" drawing even more laughter which nearly brings the house down. In the end, the song is finished to a round of applause. The version is considered to be a popular underground classic, and was a UK Top 30 hit in 1982 after first being commercially released by RCA in the 1980 box set Elvis Aaron Presley.
According to
Dr. Demento, who plays the version on his show, there is nothing on the label of the recording to indicate that it is anything other than an ordinary recording of the song--"People must have been surprised when they took it home and played it."
Elvis said at the end, "That's it, man, fourteen years right down the drain...boy, I'll tell ya."





2. Love Me Tender- Elvis Presley (1956). Boy, that Elvis sure loves Thanksgiving! Wiki says that he got a writing co-credit on this despite not having wrote word one of it (and the tune dates from the Civil War). However, I don't want Graceland Management mad at me too, so if it says he wrote it, he wrote it. As Galileo once was supposed to have said, "...and yet..."





1. Love Child- Diana Ross And The Supremes (1968). This song gave me my first sorta celebrity crush when I was a mere first grader. That was back in the days when I didn't know what a lot of songs meant and didn't care- or mutilated the meaning to my dark 6-year-old purposes. For example, thinking Angel Of The Morning had something to do with nuns.
In this case, it was mishearing the "worn, torn" in "worn, torn dress that somebody threw out" as "war-torn blah blah blah" and assuming another of the era's protest songs. Like Family Affair, the "Supremes" were there in name only as the group had already begun its terminal fragmentation. Also like Family Affair, doesn't affect the greatness of the tune.


And there ya go, sports fans! From all of me to all of you, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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