15 debuts this week, including 2 Christmas songs- at 100, Greg Lake of ELP chimes in with I Believe In Christmas; and John Denver comes in at 72 with Christmas For Cowboys. In the regular debuts, we feature 6 tunes- the Commodores at 99 with Sweet Love; Roxy Music at 91 with the classic go-to-the-club-and-get-some song, Love Is The Drug; Natalie Cole at 82 with Inseprable; the Bee Gees at 77 with Fanny Be Tender (which some dude named Gino Cunico also hit with much lower); Yet another great Linda Ronstadt cover, this time the Miracles' great Tracks Of My Tears, at 73; and way up at 69, the Eagles with Take It To The Limits. The big dropper this week are the Four Seasons with Who Loves You tumbling 34 spots to 57; the big jumper didn't even become a competition until the top forty. And finally, take heart ye "Feelings" bashers; Morris Albert at last leaves the top 40, dropping to 49.
Our #1 album countdown this week takes us to March of 1973 and the ascendance of Elton John's wonderfully titled Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player. The title comes from his reaction when Groucho Marx (of all people) made six shooters with his hands and aimed them at Elton. This album bought him his first #1 single, Crocodile Rock, along with the Billboard #2 Daniel. After 2 weeks at the top, it was replaced by Dueling Banjos, the Deliverance soundtrack played by Eric Weissburg and Steve Mandel. The title tune, originally called Feudin' Banjos, was written by Al "Guitar Boogie" Smith, who got no credit. He sued and won a landmark case that convinced moviemakers to be polite and ask from now on. Banjos stayed on top for three weeks, which brings us to another somewhat unusual entry. On April 7, Diana Ross captured her first #1 album with Lady Sings The Blues, the soundtrack to the movie biography of the late jazz star Billie Holliday. It succeeded despite the absence of a big hit single (Good Morning Heartache peaked at 34) but succeed it did, holding the top spot for two weeks.
Let's look at the tops of the other years this week before we go into the 7 count 'em 7 top 40 debuts. This week in 1995, Boyz II Men (whom I slandered last week and will thus leave alone) combine with Mariah Carey on One Sweet Day; in 1985, Mr. Mister hits #1 for the first time with Broken Wings; in 1975, you'll just have to wait to the end of the post; in 1965, the Four Seasons with Let's Hang On, one of my all time favorites and their 5th Cashbox #1 (it only got #3 Billboard); and in 1955, Tennessee Ernie Ford was in his 4th of 7 weeks at the top with Sixteen Tons.
Into airplay alley this week comes Olivia Newton-John; having no more left with Something Better To Do, she re-enters at 40, up 13 with Let It Shine. Up 6 to 39 is the disco remake of the old classic Baby Face by the Wing And A Prayer Fife And Drum Corps, a group of studio musicians put together by one Harold Wheeler, who now is the musical director for Dancing With The Stars. At 38, up 12, we find hard rockers Nazareth with their excellent cover of Roy Orbison's Love Hurts. Up 6 to 37 are Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes with the excellent Wake Up Everybody. The Who's double entendre hit Squeezebox comes in at 36, up 13. The song I thought was going to be the high debut and biggest jumper comes in at 24, up a big 28 notches- the Miracles, sans Smokey Robinson, with Love Machine; and the song that said I was premature comes in at 20, up forty-two notches in just two weeks in the Hot 100, Neil Sedaka's Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.
Our almost but not quite this week is Frankie Valli (him AGAIN??) with Our Day Will Come. This remake of the Ruby and the Romantics #1 of March 1963 featured (as did Swearin' To God) the female vocal of Patti Austin, who'd gain greater fame with her duet with James Ingram, Baby Come To Me, which hit #1 in 1983. Our Day Will Come peaks this week at 14.
Two songs enter the top ten, two fall out. The droppers are Nights On Broadway, down 11 to 16th, and My Little Town, dropping also 11 to 18th. By the By, Fly Away climbs from 20 to 13, which means likely next week I'll tell you the Fly Away story. Along with the song and the singers, it involves a human stork, Woodward and Bernstein, and Pizza Hut.
Holding onto the #10 spot are the O'Jays with I Love Music. Also stalled at #9 are the Ohio Players with Love Rollercoaster. Leaping from 19 to 8 come Pigpen and Rubber Duck; yes, CW McCall's Convoy wastes no time trucking into the top ten. At 7th , up 6, is Diana Ross with the Theme From Mahogany-big day for Diana and movies, eh? Barry Manilow moves up 2 to #6 with I Write The Songs. Jigsaw climbs one to 5 with Sky High. Fly Robin Fly descends one spot to #4. KC and the kids drop from top dog to #3 with that's The Way I Like It. The Bay City Rollers climb 2 to the runner up spot with Saturday Night. All of which means that our new #1 song this week is...
The Staple Singers, who let Pop up front this time, with Let's Do It Again.
See you for that special countdown next week, along with our usual fun'n'games.