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


Friday, February 11, 2011

Step into my time machine week forty-two

Hi, guys, and welcome to another frozen foray into the depths of when music was good. Before we take off, I'd like to try something new but am a little wary of it, so I need your help- this is an audience participation gig, to wit: I'd like to have you sit back and come up with the song that defines you, your "theme song" if you will. The song so ingrained in you that you feel a sense of comfort in hearing it, as it tells you you are still you. Post them in the comments section, please; and if I get enough responses, I'll put a video of mine on next week's TM. This does NOT have to be a seventies song to go with TM's theme; in fact, mine WON'T be. But if I crap out on responses, as the Beatles say, "you won't see me".

Okay, so let's strap in and head for this week in 1976. 11 songs debut in the Hot 100 this week, and I'll be mentioning 5 of them. At the leadoff spot (no. 100) we have Hall and Oates with Sara Smile. Two notches later, Styx debuts with Loreli; then we move up to 83 where we have country crossovers Waylon (Jennings) and Willie (Nelson) with Good Hearted Woman. Next up at 77 we have one of the fun songs of the era, Maxine Nightengale's Right Back To Where We Started From. C'mon, can you NOT smile when you hear that one? and finally up at 70 we have Johnny Taylor with Disco Lady. Move it in, move it out...

Let's hit the countdown of the #1 albums of the 70s next. We're at March of 1974 this week, and the weeks of the 16th and 23rd were ruled by Barbara Streisand with her lp The Way We Were. At least that is the once and current title; for a while after its release, she got into it with the producer of the movie to which the title track was the theme, and as a result had to be changed to Barbara Streisand Featuring The Hit Single The Way We Were And All In Love Is Fair. (Geez, did BJ Thomas' writers get ahold of this?) This album was a conglomeration of 4 songs that were new, including the two mentioned in that long title (which hit #1 and #63 respectively), and 6 that were off a 1970 album that was never released that would have been titled Singer.

After Babs' two weeks, we got another album whose title and contents seemed to be at odds- John Denver's Greatest Hits. John was actually just getting his feet wet, superstar-wise, and much of the album was early songs of his that had never been hits, but he reworked them to feel more contemporary. However, it did include the #1 Sunshine (On My Shoulders), the #2 Take Me Home Country Roads, and the #9 Rocky Mountain High, as well as his version of the song he penned for Peter Paul and Mary, Leaving On A Jet Plane. GH held the top in a turbulent time when albums seemed to be bouncing in and out at the top; it was #1 the last week of March, the first week of April, and again two weeks later.

The album that knocked it out would do the same thing itself. Band On The Run by McCartney And Wings is one of the great lps of all time IMHO. It didn't start out so well, though. Paul got the idea of going someplace exotic, and picked... Lagos, Nigeria. (Hey, could you drop off $8,000 to Mary Ozasuma while you're there?*) They found: that Nigeria wasn't as exotic as they imagined; themselves robbed at knifepoint; a dilapidated recording studio where they could only lay the basic tracks; and Paul collapsing from something very much like a heart attack. Y'know it seems like all of these acts wanted to try the "exotic locale" thing, and none of them had a very good time doing it. In any event, this excellent album not only contained the singles Band On The Run (#1), Jet (#7), and Helen Wheels (#10), but two great flip sides, Let Me Roll It and Nineteen Hundred Eighty-Five, as well as the very tasty Picasso's Last Words. After interrupting John Denver's run, BOTR waited patiently for six weeks while two other albums took the top spot, then returned for the weeks of June 8th and 15th.

(*See the post earlier this week about scam e-mails to get this reference.)

The Big Dropper this week, ironically enough, is John Denver's Fly Away, down 28 spot to 43. As the Big Mover is in the top 40, let's go right on there. Going from 41 to 40 is a re-entry; The Wing And A Prayer Fife And Drum Corps' Baby Face peaked at 26 two weeks ago and dropped to 41 last week. Another similar song, George Baker's Paloma Blanca, falls this week to 39 after peaking at 22. I mention them in the same breath because, to hear as much as they got played around here, you'd have thought they were both top 10s at least. So, let's call this a pseudo- almost but not quite feature and move on. The Big Mover goes from 58 to 37, a 21-notch climb for the Bay City Rollers and Money Honey. Our final debut is the best of the lot: Dr. Hook's Only Sixteen, a song that makes me misty from note #1.

Our look at the tops this week in other years hits the twos this week. In 1992, Prince and the NPG were on top with Diamonds And Pearls. Without re-hashing my usual 1990's commentary, I did listen to this song (which I did NOT know) this morning, and found myself paying little to no attention. As John Popper once sang, "the hook brings you back," and I didn't hear one. In 1982, the J. Geils Band was on top for the third of their 6 weeks with Centerfold. In 1972, Al Green was up with the song on which he based so many of his others, Let's Stay Together. In 1962, the #1 song was one of the all time classics- Gene Chandler's Duke Of Earl.

1952 at this point saw Johnnie Ray- yes, "poor old Johnnie Ray" of Dexy's Midnight Runners fame- with one of those songs mom used to try to sing just to annoy us, Cry. He was backed on this single by the Four Lads, who would go on to have their own big career, including another of mom's faves, the 1955 hit Moments To Remember. When I was REEEEEAL little and mom used to play that one, I somehow linked the part "the time we tore the goal posts down" to a flagpole at the Hi-Ho Inn in POE, Indiana, one of dad's favorite dives. It, as far as I know, was never torn down, and I can't even be sure it ever existed. But that's how I put things together back when I was two or three.

Three songs rocket into the top ten, three drop, and two of those take the reeeeally hard fall. Sing A Song drops from 7 to 11; Convoy tanks from 2 (yes, 2) all the way to 17; and Love Rollercoaster screams downward, just missing biggest dropper with a 22 notch fall from 6 to 28.

The Top ten leads off with the Eagles at 10, up 2 spots, with Take It To The Limit, Randy Meisner on the vocals for the only time in Eagles' singledom. At #9 was the fastest written song in Jeff Lynne history. He says he penned Evil Woman, which climbs a notch to 9, in just 30 minutes, expecting it to be an album filler instead of their biggest song to this point. Leaping 6 big notches from 14 to 8 is Eric Carmen with All By Myself, with which he ironically got some help from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor, Opus 18 ( which was at first uncredited since he thought it was public domain- a mistake that he later had to settle with the Rachmaninoff estate over). Moving up one to #7 is the catatonic's version of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do by Neil Sedaka. The Miracles, fronted by Billy Griffin, move from 9 to 6 with Love Machine. Charging up 8 spots to enter the top ten at #5, Rhythm Heritage and the Theme From SWAT (Which I assume is near and dear to Bobby G's heart) RH, I learned, contained at one point Ray Parker, JR, and was formed by Michael Omartian of Christian Contemporary fame and Steve Barri, a producer and writer who had co-credits on Secret Agent Man and forged the careers of the Grass Roots and Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods. Barry Manilow eases down one more notch to 4 with I Write The Songs. Donna Summer moans her way to #3, up 2 with Love To Love You Baby, a song which I understand she recorded lying down with the lights off to get the full effect. Hot Chocolate moves up 2 to #2 with You Sexy Thing. And the top dog again this week is...

Paul Simon with 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover! (Sorry, Paul, no pic; you know the rules.)

That's it for this week; remember, comment me your personal theme songs, and if you're good, I'll show you mine. See ya next week!


  1. Oh, yeah...I miss good music!

    When you mentioned John Denver, I practically leaped for joy. Have always liked his music, so I guess his music would be my theme. No song in particular.

    I still own (but have no means to play) the original vinyl albums of John Denver ("Back Home Again" and "Windsong"). Also inherited the original vinyl of Paul McCartney and Wings "Band On The Run".

    Will admit I am still an Eagles fan, even though I cannot play their music around Hubby. (a dispute between him, Youtube, and Cass County Music)

    *wanders off to find some J.D. on the radio somewhere...*

  2. Wow.. I think I will go with something by the Eagles.. Maybe Witchy Woman.. I also love Darlene Love.. this is a tough assignment.

  3. CWM:
    I love the "review" this week...tons of song to keep me humming.
    As for "my" theme song?
    A song that defines ME?

    That's gonna take a while to figure out.
    SO many to choose from and a lot of songs that call to mind SPECIFIC times in my past, both good & bad.

    I promise to have one that fills the bill ASAP.

    Thanks for the memories!

    Stay safe up there.

  4. MS Nk:
    I wouldve never picked witchy woman for you- but then again, I don't get to assign them.
    And I had to look her up to remind myself- I remember Darlene Love from my TM with the Rock'n'roll HOF nominees. Good choices.

    You should go back five or six Time Machines (under music on tags) and look for my John Denver "Fly Away" story. It's very easy to find JD songs for almost anyone to Identify with.

  5. CWM:
    Okay...I have it narrowed down to an "either/or" as far as my personal "theme" songs.
    (Pink Floyd)
    (Lee Holdridge)

    I have a ton more (for specific years, events, etc) made my BRAIN HURT this weekend...shame on you.


    Stay safe.

  6. this very hard but the song for me is the joker

  7. Not sure how I came acrossed your blog, but I wanted to let you know that the HI HO Tavern in Poe, IN did and does still exist. LOL. It has changed owners and names a few times, but is still there.

  8. Cool, Sheri, thanks for the update. I haven't been to Poe since Reagan was President.